Contrast is in mathematics, physics, biology and psychology as well. Day and night, cold and hot come together. So if you can observe both sides of the situation, you can become a balanced leader. It does not mean that you need to over analyse everything. But you can listen to the people AND the numbers. The short term AND long term risks and benefits. The internal AND external expectations. It is a bit slower than drifting by convenience, but it is certainly more rewarding.
I was always amazed by the wise monks, gurus and philosophers who could keep their lives balanced and not suffer from extreme roller coaster rides. It seems that they switched off their emotions. But in reality, they observe them and consciously choose what to think, feel and do. Instead of drifting (like me and many others), they kind of make informed decisions.
Just like every owner, manager and specialist should do in most situations. In business, we usually go with the easiest option, convenience wins. Practicality wins. But the reality is: What is short term advantage, long term it is a disadvantage. What is short term a disadvantage, long term advantage...
Contrast is everywhere (day/night, hot/cold) and in every one of us (introvert/extrovert, risk-taker/risk-avoider).
So if we take some time to evaluate both sides of the situation, we can identify the best next step(s).
WHY consider both sides?
“The greater the contrast, the greater the potential. Great energy only comes from a correspondingly great tension of opposites.” Carl Jung
So it makes sense to regularly “Stop, check and adjust”. Conflict is not always bad. Contrast can give colours, different viewpoints to a situation. It is hard to accept diversity of thoughts but deep innovation can come only from contrasts.
The contrast gives edges to the objects, situations, approaches - otherwise, everything is blurry. Conflict is painful but useful. When I coach teams to be productive, we always establish ground rules (social agreements) and a safe environment.
So we can contrast viewpoints, schedules, dependencies, benefits and conflict behind closed doors. But when we leave the workshop, we go in the same direction, knowing that we can raise our concerns at any time. It gives a huge boost to self-respect, motivation and generates bioenergy in the person and team.
HOW to be balanced?
First of all, try to see the internal and external dimensions (what is our team vs our customers). Then try to see the past and the future (our history, our future) Ask a few key people and listen quietly. Then put the positions into these 4 quadrants.
Is it more in the external future (our market demand)? Is it in the internal past (our culture)? Is it in the external past (applicable regulations)? Is it in the internal future (our goals)? Once you place them into their position, the contrast of views is obvious. If something is not helping us achieve our goals then it is not so valuable. Maybe just not yet. So business value comes from a relative distance to our goals. If it is against our goals, it can be valuable to someone else, but not to us. Not now.
WHAT do you do once you see the contrast?
Contrast is not appreciated by command and control management. But it is highly appreciated by true leadership. A leader knows that by asking questions he/she is going to learn something. “Walking the floor leadership.” Once you go to the shop floor, factory floor, and talk with suppliers, employees, and customers directly, you will see the contrasting viewpoints. Try to find a win-win outcome. Or no deal. But the worst is the win-lose. If you really can’t create a win-win situation in your team or outside of it, take turns.
Even coins and banknotes have two sides.
On this banknote, there is Mathias, the greatest king in Hungary. He regularly changed clothes to pretend he was a student or a vagabond. He learned directly from the peasants, soldiers and craftsmen what contrast was between their lives and the nobles. He then took turns, to educate the peasants and the nobles. With his “keep learning” attitude and wisdom the country grew and matured quickly.
If you walk in your office, factory, shop, warehouse or markets and chat with your team, customers, partners and competitors, you can learn from them and you can create a win-win = balanced position.
If you can view contrasting expectations and positions at the same time, you can create balance.
If you have balanced CORE VALUES, your organisation is centred. Then it can spin around but go forward like a drill. If you have a balanced portfolio of PRODUCTS, then beginners and advanced users can enjoy them. If you have a balanced BRAND, it talks to your tribe but also people outside of your tribe can recognise it. If you have a balanced TEAM, the seniors mentor the juniors. If you have a list of balanced CUSTOMERS, the one time buyers can become repeat customers. If you have invested in sustaining your business (short term cash flow), but also in innovation for the future, you have balanced ACCOUNTS.
Balance can be achieved only if you observe and use CONTRAST to your advantage.
About the Author
Laszlo Csite is a business coach who helps gifted and keen leaders and teams to be extraordinary and fulfil their potential. He is also a digital product owner, who helps great ideas to grow into admired digital/physical products.
If you enter a new field, want to grow, acquire, transform or exit successfully - using proven methods can save you time and frustration.
When you are interested, I can show you how to use CONTRAST in your team and organisation. I will share my 24 years of consulting experience and my carefully selected network of professionals with you.
If you find these articles interesting, invite me for a coffee or ask any questions: lacix.co