What Happens When One and One Does Not Equal Two?

October 6th, 2014   •   no comments   

Business and life would be so simple if one and one always added up to two. At least, that is what our logical brain seems to tell us.  But what can happen when one and one don’t add up to two?

First, One and One Always Adds Up to Two. Really?


On the surface, there seems to be a great deal of evidence which would lead us to come up with one right answer. Customers can consistently expect a quality product or service, after all the product is always made the same way and the service is always delivered in the same manner. A leader can expect that employees fully understand their roles and expectations and deliver top performance. Employees consistently receive the same information, directives and are held accountable in the same manner.

After all, the following is generally true:

  • Everyone  speaks the same language
  • There is one universal vocabulary  understood by everyone
  • Everyone come to a job with the same  knowledge and experience
  • Motivation for everyone is the same

By now, I pretty sure readers are getting the idea that I might have lost my mind or am really out of touch with reality.  However, just consider how the previous statements when laid out in front of us, may lead us to make unconscious assumptions which ultimately affect our relationships and results. If that’s the case, which unfortunately it often is, we need to rethink what we might need to consider how we have been conducting business.

1&1not equal to two_Oct_5_2014Second, One and One May Be Not Equal to Two

Initially, when one and one don’t add up to two, the automatic conclusion is that someone or something is wrong.

The customer may have purchased the product or service for a very specific reason.  For example, a customer may purchase hammer to drive nails. Later, having left it in a car used it to smash a window to escape if involved in an accident.

The leader has had solid, steady growth in one market. A new trend pops up and now there is an opportunity to expand into a new market, totally unrelated. Over night the business explodes or the opportunity passes and the competition takes over.

Employees are given the business objectives.  The average employee doing day-to-day activities, not really making the connection with their roles and the success of the business. As a result business continues to limp along.  Or, they can see that their current goals and roles need to be modified and they need to step out of the status quo to help achieve those objectives and push the business to new levels of success.

Finally, It’s Not  Right or Wrong

Since life is not as simple as basic math.  Often times, there are great rewards when one and one adds up to two. However, a lot of great things have happened when one and one don’t equal two and as a 720thinker, I would like you to consider the following questions:

What might happen with your customers if they believed that you offered more than just the basic service?

What might happen if your leadership found different applications or opportunities for a product or service?

What might happen with employees if they stepped out of their box and added some innovative ideas and actions to production or service?









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