Both/And Thinking: Embracing Conflicts to Solve Your Toughest Problems
Life is full of paradoxes. How can we each express our individuality and be a team player? How can we manage the core business while also innovating for the future? For many people, these competing and interwoven demands are a source of conflict.
My guest today, Wendy Smith, a Professor at the Lerner College of Business and Economics at the University of Delaware, knows a lot about organizational behavior, having studied at Harvard Business School. She’s done extensive research about strategic paradoxes and how leaders and senior teams can effectively respond to contradictory yet interdependent demands.
Wendy recently co-authored a book called Both/And thinking with Marianne Lewis, which is a fascinating topic for managing conflict within ourselves and with others. She explains that since our brains love to make either-or choices, we choose one option over the other. Yet, there’s a better way through Both/And thinking.
- What is both/and thinking vs either/or thinking?
- When / what made Wendy study paradox and both/and thinking?
- Advice to cope and thrive with “multiple knotted tensions happening at the same time?”
- How does embracing paradox correlate to improving employee performance and engagement to deliver customer excellence?
- The best leadership advice received and given.
- One key takeaway you can do now to improve your personal and business life.
- Advice to younger 20-year-old self. The stories and lessons will inspire you.
Take notes as you will get many actionable tips to make more creative, flexible, and impactful decisions in a world of conflict and competing needs.
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About Wendy Smith:
Both/And Thinking: Embracing Conflict For Better Decision Making
Wendy K. Smith is the Dana J. Johnson Professor of Management and faculty director of the Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Lerner College of Business and Economics, University of Delaware. She earned her PhD in organizational behavior at Harvard Business School, where she began her intensive research on strategic paradoxes—how leaders and senior teams effectively respond to contradictory, yet interdependent demands. Working with executives and scholars globally, she received the Web of Science Highly Cited Research Award (2019, 2020 and 2021) for being among the 1 percent most-cited researchers in her field and received the Decade Award (2021) from the Academy of Management Review for the most cited paper in the past 10 years. Her work has been published in such journals as Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Harvard Business Review, Organization Science, and Management Science. She integrates her research into her book Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems. She has taught at the University of Delaware, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania–Wharton while helping senior leaders and middle managers all over the world address issues of interpersonal dynamics, team performance, organizational change, and innovation. Wendy lives in Philadelphia with her husband, three children, and the family dog.
About Stacy Sherman: Founder of Doing CX Right®
An award-winning certified marketing and customer experience (CX) corporate executive, speaker, author, and podcaster, known for DoingCXRight®. She created a Heart & Science™ framework that accelerates customer loyalty, referrals, and revenue, fueled by engaged employees and customer service representatives. Stacy’s been in the trenches improving experiences as a brand differentiator for 20+ years, working at companies of all sizes and industries, like Liveops, Schindler elevator, Verizon, Martha Steward Craft, AT&T++. Stacy is on a mission to help people DOING, not just TALKING about CX, so real human connections & happiness exist. Continue reading bio >here.