Choices, choices, choices. Some we love to have, others we wish we didn’t have to make. Life is full of them. This or that. Now or later. Cake or cookies. Us or them. Innovate or optimize. Profit or value. Lead or follow. (Or get out of the way). The list goes on. In the previous post, I talked about “The Tyranny of the NOW“, which described how we have been conditioned to go for the urgent rather than the important. In this post, I’ll be talking about how to distinguish between inclusive and exclusive choices, and how to become a master when making those choices.
Most people face dilemmas, or what they think are dilemmas, when making choices. Our mindsets seem bent on one thing or the other, and we seem to subconsciously think that “We can’t have it all, something has to give way.” Well, it depends on what we are talking about, doesn’t it? It depends on whether we ought to choose inclusion or whether we ought to choose exclusion.
Inclusive choices are made when we wish to develop options in line with our goals. As the old saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat (apologies to cat lovers, especially Garfield). Take profit versus value. It’s always tempting to go for what we term “low-hanging fruit”, and perhaps even at the expense of valuable long-term client relationships. Perhaps at the backs of our minds we are thinking that some clients won’t be returning clients anyway, and so we ought to make maximum profit from the one transaction. We forget that those clients know other potential or even existing clients, and could inflict severe damage to our enterprises just by talking about the shoddy services we provided. This can be made worse by them talking and complaining about it on social media. We need to have the mindset that value always attracts profit in the long run, and posture ourselves accordingly. Another example of what ought to be an inclusive choice is this whole idea of career and family. Conventional wisdom would have us believe that success in our careers means “sacrificing” family life. Since when has this become a truth? Just because many have chosen to live like that doesn’t make it true! Yes, we do need to work hard, but we do have the option of harmonization when it comes to career and family. Writing a book? Do it from 5 am to 7 am if you need to. That gives you time for family and time to publish your book. In fact, you’ll find that you’re fresher and your mind works better during those “unearthly” hours! Travel a lot? Bring your family with you on the frequent odd occasion! Besides being able to spend time with your family, your clients and associates would think better of you, as there would be a feel of solidity in your overall countenance! These are a few examples of inclusive choices.
Exclusive choices are made when we are faced with situations that call for a compromise of values. Would you transact business with a company you know or suspect is involved in human trafficking, even if the profits run in the millions? Do you “forget” to mention that your product is only good for certain types of equipment under certain conditions but that the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) decreases sharply if the buyer uses your product outside those conditions, and you know that he very likely will? Such situations call for choices of exclusion. Most people, having been brought up in an economic system which thrives on the practice of exclusivity leading to profit, take this mindset into situations involving making what ought to be inclusive choices as well.
So there you have it. I encourage you to think about the inclusive and exclusive choices you need to make on a daily basis. Knowing when to say “AND” and knowing when to say “OR” will make you a master of ANDOR. Go well!