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Either/Or Thinking

We live in a world that prefers the binary.

Good or bad

Chipotle or Qdoba

Public or charter

Curriculum or creativity

It’s such a reductive trap that has us neatly separated into groups and particular ways of thinking.

Just the other week I was working with a team on their agreements.  They were stuck in some kind of either/or thinking.  The debate was whether meetings could meet the emotional needs of the team or if they had to follow the technical agenda and outcomes.

I suggested that one of their agreements be to get ten times more creative.

For every problem, we make up that there is this solution or that solution.  Option A or Option B.

As leaders and culture changers, our call to action this week is to notice when we ourselves or those we lead or coach are in this trap of the binary and disconnected from our creativity.

This post pandemic era of leadership we are in calls us to be BOTH/AND thinkers, to integrate concepts rather than collapse in separation.

My work and my services rely on this concept.

So what is integration?

  • Adaptive & Technical

  • Relationship & Feedback

  • Culture & Instruction

  • Holistic & Success

  • Teachers Feel Good & Do Better

  • Joy & Proficiency

Integrated leadership means putting the essential pieces together in a way that doesn't have us incurring any cost.  Think about that team.  Could they find a way to get their emotional needs met in meetings while also making progress toward their technical outcomes?

Yes, of course.  

Will it require the willingness to try different approaches and reinvent when the thing they tried misses the mark?

Yes, of course.

Something from the pandemic, the way that fear has settled into our system and psyche has dampened creative thinking.

We, the phoenixes committed to rising from the ashes, get to inspire and awaken that creative impulse in our teams.

So let’s do as we say and try a few things out and then try ten more ways.  Let’s keep talking and leading and integrating concepts until we’ve found a path out of the binary and into the expansive.


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