What’s your “AND”?

mj defensive player of the year

Michael Jordan being presented the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year

A few days ago I wrote a piece called “Both, And“, focussing at that time on how we make choices. Today, though, am thinking of this from the angle of “what is your “and”?“.

What do I mean by that? Well, we all can recognise and be seen for a particular skill, ability, strength in our core area of focus, work etc. However, sometimes it is our “and” that really sets us apart, rather than the thing we are most recognised for,

Michael Jordan is widely thought to be the greatest basketball player of all time. When we think of him we think of one of the most dominant offensive players in basketball history.

Did you know, though, that he is one of only four players in history to have won both the MVP award and defensive player of the year award?

In short, Michael Jordan’s skills, passion and drive at the defensive end of the court was very much his “and”.

Let’s give some more examples to help you bring awareness to what is your own “and“.

First of all, I note on the top of this section of the site that “people are my library”, so I give thanks today for inspiring this blog to a new contact I met this week. Before we met they had reviewed my career profile on LinkedIn. Towards the end of our conversation, they said they could think of a few people they knew in London who could potentially benefit from becoming my clients. In saying that, they noted that what was particularly distinctive about me was that my prior background as a Chartered Accountant and business builder means that I bring financial and business acumen to being a coach and sounding board, whereas many leadership and executive coaches simply don’t have that in their toolkit.

So for me, my main focus is now Leadership, ie People.

My “and”, then, is Numbers, so business value and how to grow and build an organisation in that way.

Now, in addition to being great to hear such positive feedback, it then inspired me to write this post, so considering examples of people and their “and”.

Michael Jordan is one person with an “and” we may not consider, so now who else can we think of?

A few concise thoughts on inspiring individuals :

Warren Buffett – Reading Culture

Known as the “Sage of Omaha”,  a brilliant analyst of the vaue of companies (and considered by many to be the world’s greatest investor). His “and”? As outlined in the book ‘Berkshire beyond Buffett“, perhaps his most powerful “and” is his ability to assess leaders and culture.

Peter Lederer – Dyslexia

It goes far beyond political correctness to choose to change language from disabled to differently abled. Spend sufficient time with those who are different from the norm in any way and we can learn lessons from them around their specific abilities.

One such disability is Dyslexia. Interestingly something like 25% of CEOs have some degree of dyslexia, including Sir Richard Branson, Cisco’s John Chambers, IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad.

Another is my friend and mentor Peter Lederer (a profile of Peter here). Peter had a remarkable career as a hotelier and tourism leader and someone I have had the good fortune of learning a great deal from.

His “and” in my assessment? Perhaps springing from his dyslexia, Peter has a superpower (in my view) in his level of empathy and understanding for others. His ability to read and understand others is only matched by his care.

Ian Armiger

Ian Armiger is another leader I am privileged to call a friend and mentor. Ian built Loughborough Swimming over nearly twenty years to be the greatest powerhouse in swimming in Europe, with 16 swimmers at the London 2012 Olympics (for more on that, see this article).

Ian is famous for being single-minded in his care and connection to the literally thousands of people he has coached over the decades.

Ian’s “and”? Though he is deeply caring and comes across as “folksy” and relaxed, I know Ian to be someone who deeply studies both data on performance as well as academic papers and journals on topics of a wide range, certainly including behaviour and psychology. His “and” then? He is a researcher.

So, with all of this, what is your “and”?



Also published on Medium.