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"Great Culture OR Remote Work?" Myth Busted! Leading in a Hybrid World with AND/ALSO Thinking

Curious about the leadership skills that will be required in the new world of work?

Have you heard this lately? We can EITHER have a great team culture OR we can work remotely.

This is an example of EITHER/OR thinking.

Regardless of the trajectory of the pandemic, many of the changes that we’ve seen in our workplaces and work relationships are here to stay. For leaders, this will require new mindsets, skills, and approaches.

Here’s one skill that has become increasingly important:

🔸 Paradox Navigation 🔸

We tend not to do well at navigating paradox, preferring to think in either/or terms.

We can learn to think differently and explore how we can make seemingly contradictory concepts operate together. Here are a few examples of common business paradoxes:

➤ Build collaborative teams while increasing individual accountability

➤ Increase both speed-to-market and quality

➤ Improve customer service with reduced budgets

An average leader might think it’s impossible to have both options and may drive towards a decision on which one to pursue. But these leaders are missing the point.

The point is that the conversation itself is the key.

Discussing how we can achieve both and tackling the inherent conflict head-on, can unleash new insights and creativity.

Without the tensions that come from paradoxical debate, we will only perpetuate the status quo and respond inadequately to change.

We need to shift from either/or thinking to ▶ AND/ALSO ◀ thinking.

We can have a great team culture AND hybrid or remote work. We can have collaboration AND ALSO accountability.

We must learn to do both.

Where to start?

Begin by clarifying each pole.

For example:

✔ What do we mean by collaborative teams and individual accountability?

✔ How are we/will we measure each?

✔ What are collaborative teams doing? Where is accountability strong and how has it been achieved?

Embrace the inherent tension between the two poles and bring the right people together to collaboratively clarify and talk them through. Embrace AND/ALSO thinking and move in a new direction!

P.S. Full credit to Dave Ulrich and his team at the RBL group from whom I first heard the term ‘Paradox Navigation’. Thank you, Dave. You are onto something!

Want to learn more?


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