Thoughts That Make You Go Hmm on...Synergistic OppositesJoe Folkman’s latest Forbes column, “Exceptional Leaders: Are they the Friend or the Enemy?“, provides yet more of his research on the incredible multiplying power of leaders who are BOTH likable and demanding. Finding synergy where others see contradictions is proving to be a key element in highly effective leadership.

“The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”

– Niels Bohr, Danish physicist winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics

“Visionary companies do not brutalize themselves with the “Tyranny of the OR” — the purely rational view that says you can have either A OR B, but not both … instead, they embrace the “Genius of the AND” — the paradoxical view that allows them to pursue both A AND B at the same time. “

– James C. Collins and Jerry Porras, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

“The test of first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still be able to function.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald, American novelist

” … we researched the performance of more than 1,000 companies worldwide over the past two decades … the companies that performed best adopted a very different approach. Instead of setting a lead objective, they looked at how best to strengthen what the two sides of each tension have in common.”

– Dominic Dodd and Ken Favaro, “Managing the Right Tension,” Harvard Business Review

“After extensive interviews with more than 50 (effective leaders) the author discovered that most are integrative thinkers — that is, they can hold in their heads two opposing ideas at once and then come up with a new idea that contains elements of each but is superior to both … this process of consideration and synthesis … is the hallmark of exceptional businesses and the people who run them. They see the whole problem and how the parts fit together … they creatively resolve the tensions between opposing ideas and generate new alternatives.”

– Roger Martin, “How Successful Leaders Think,” Harvard Business Review

“…. performance and health are both things you should be managing today. Just as performance requires a quarter-by-quarter, month-by-month, day-by-day focus from leaders, so does health. Sometimes people equate health with the long term (something to manage tomorrow) and performance with the short term (something to manage today). This thinking couldn’t be more flawed. Our research shows that the way you manage your health today is responsible for at least 50 percent of your ability to continue to perform in the future. “

– Scott Keller and Colin Price, Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage

Further Reading:

• “Demanding Leaders are Much More Effective – and More Likable
• “Dispelling Common Myths about Likability and Leadership Effectiveness
• “Are the Most Effective Leaders Loved or Feared?
• “7 Steps to Higher Likability – and Results
• “Powerful Combinations: Drive for Results and Builds Relationships