The most important word for any leader today is And. No longer is it enough to simply run a profitable business or a successful enterprise.
Employees and consumers demand more. We instinctively want to support companies that bring value into the world. We appreciate those who care deeply for the wellbeing of their staff and consumers, and who are mindful about their business practices.
To be a truly successful business means we must embrace the power of And. Tweet This Quote
As CEO of the Meriwether Group, a company that provides strategic vision to entrepreneurs in a time renowned for its hunger for authenticity, I’ve found that my clients share one main goal: they are all striving to create meaningful and profitable brands. My own journey as an entrepreneur, outlined in my book Heed Your Call, taught me that to be a truly successful business means we must embrace the power of And.
A Relationship With And
In order to contextualize the And model, we first need to understand the Tyranny of Or. As youth, our superiors intentionally and unintentionally program us to adopt Or thinking. We learn to label and define. We learn that we have to choose between being a doctor or an artist, an attorney or a musician, a web programmer or a chef.
Each of us is the artist and the logical thinker, empathic and cerebral, brain and brawn. Tweet This Quote
We are brainwashed to believe that in order to enjoy financial abundance we must work faster, harder, be more analytical, and have more education than the next guy. Unfortunately, we subconsciously carry this mindset with us into our adulthood. We believe that if we are a musician, artist, teacher, poet, or any other professional that leverages more right brain qualities, that our lives will be rich with empathy, purpose, culture, love, meaningful relationships, and good health. But, we will likely end up flat broke.
Alternatively, if we become a leader, executive, or other businessperson, we will economically prosper. But, we will pay a price in our personal lives. Our lives will lack purpose, our relationships will be empty, our health will be compromised due to stress, and we will have little to no intuition or empathy.
This is the Tyranny of Or and we must come to realize that separation is an illusion.
This integration of self is what our businesses, relationships, and the world need. Tweet This Quote
Whether we consciously recognize it or not, we are each a balance of creativity and accuracy. We are artistic and logical, open-minded and detail-oriented. Each of us is the artist and the logical thinker, empathic and cerebral, brain and brawn. We bring our best into the world when we simultaneously toggle back and forth between the two. This integration of self is what our businesses, relationships, and the world need.
There is Power in Integration
In recent business news, there has been a great deal of commentary on the topic of the MFA being the new MBA. Executives and leaders are seeing great value in artistically minded recruits. Think about this for a moment. Artists tend to be deeply devoted to their craft. They pour their heart and soul into a masterpiece. This same level of attention and care can, for example, be applied to product development.
Artists tend to be malleable, adaptable, flexible, and often hold multiple jobs at once…Are these qualities not valuable in business? Tweet This Quote
Also, artists tend to be malleable, adaptable, flexible, and often hold multiple jobs at once in order to keep afloat while pursuing their career. Are these qualities not valuable in business? The artist can offer tremendous value by being able to adapt quickly to an ever-evolving professional landscape and will find ways to navigate obstacles in order to keep moving forward.
Furthermore, they have the ability to problem solve in a different way. They can conjure solutions that linear thinkers might not be fit to craft. Left-brain linear thinkers typically only see one path from point A to point B, whereas the artist’s mind sees the big picture and all the details. They see more than one path for arriving at point B and so are adept at roles such as a growth strategist, product developer, analyst, engineer, and marketing executive.
It is important we remove our narrow focused lenses to recognize that both left and right brain qualities are essential.
There is Only One Camp
I believe most everyone experiences uncertainty and wonders whether they are the talent or the brains. Perhaps you struggle because you feel you have to keep one foot in each camp. But it’s not about having one foot in each camp; it’s about recognizing there is only one camp.
Consider the phrase, I need more work-life balance. Is work not life? It’s not like you leave your life to go to work. Inherent in the term is the notion they are two separate things. In your life, you do certain things, one of them being work. There is no such thing as work-life balance; there is just balance.
There is no such thing as work-life balance; there is just balance. Tweet This Quote
If we don’t do something about it, separation will be the death of our business. When we don’t integrate, we miss opportunities by not connecting authentically with our consumer. We fail to see ways we can enhance our brand and products due to some of us being too linear. In this day and age, when we ignore what our communities are yearning for—soul, purpose, and passion—we become overworked, stressed out, tired, and our businesses suffer.
What could it mean for us if more leaders embraced And? We don’t have to give up one part of ourselves for the other. We need to ask ourselves these questions. Do we have good relationships with our staff and provide value to our consumers? Is our work serving humanity and feeding our passion? Are we connecting with our consumers in an authentic and meaningful way? Are we delivering value and goods, purpose and products?
Is our work serving humanity and feeding our passion? Tweet This Quote
If not, we need to take a step back and look at where we are not integrating and then make a conscious choice to do so. We must choose to weave the left and the right—and never apologize for being both the executive and the man or woman who also embraces love, purpose, meaning, art, and intuition.