Monday, June 6, 2011

The Ampersand Mentality

Some people choose to view the world as black and white. To these types, challenges are tackled with either/or thinking. Their solutions to problems are categorical, not spectral. There exists only this solution or that solution, but nothing in between, in no possible combination.

If you're a computer, this "mentality" works. The only vocabulary a computer understands, or needs to understand, is "0" or "1". Two options -- that's it. Sometimes, it can be that simple for humans. But often, the challenges we face in work and relationships (and life in general) are too complex and nuanced for only two seemingly opposing solutions.

I would much rather surround myself with people who choose an Ampersand Mentality. These people believe in, search for, and pursue the and solutions. They have the ability to see where black and white blend together to become gray. I find that the best solutions tend to fall in the gray area, where creativity, courage, and humility reside.

People with an Ampersand Mentality realize that you can:

  • Focus on people and profits.
  • Staunchly disagree and be respectful.
  • Confront inappropriate behavior and be compassionate.
  • Support a political party and strive for bipartisan policies.
  • Look out for your own needs and serve others.
  • Create a fun and productive work environment.
  • Do what's needed in the present and work toward the future.

Either/or can make solutions seem simple. And can make them more successful.