Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems

Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems

Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems

Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems


    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


An insightful and inspiring book on using "both/and" thinking to make more creative, flexible, and impactful decisions in a world of competing demands.

Life is full of paradoxes. How can we each express our individuality while also being a team player? How do we balance work and life? How can we improve diversity while promoting opportunities for all? How can we manage the core business while innovating for the future?

For many of us, these competing and interwoven demands are a source of conflict. Since our brains love to make either-or choices, we choose one option over the other. We deal with the uncertainty by asserting certainty.

There's a better way.

In Both/And Thinking, Wendy Smith and Marianne Lewis help readers cope with multiple, knotted tensions at the same time. Drawing from more than twenty years of pioneering research, they provide tools and lessons for transforming these tensions into opportunities for innovation and personal growth.

Filled with practical advice and fascinating stories—including firsthand tales from IBM, LEGO, and Unilever, as well as from startups, nonprofits, and even an inn at one of the four corners of the world—Both/And Thinking will change the way you approach your most vexing problems.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781647821043
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 08/09/2022
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 397,177
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Wendy K. Smith is the Emma Smith Morris Professor of Management and academic director of the Women's Leadership Initiative at the University of Delaware's Lerner College of Business & Economics. Her work has won multiple academic awards and been featured in outlets such as Harvard Business Review, Academy of Management Journal, and Organization Science.

Marianne W. Lewis is dean of the University of Cincinnati's Lindner School of Business and a professor of management. She formerly served as dean at Cass Business School in London. Her work has appeared in major outlets such as the New York Times, CNBC, the Financial Times, and Harvard Business Review.

You can find the authors at:

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

The Power of Both/And Thinking in a Vexing World Amy C. Edmondson

Introduction 1

Why Some Problems Are So Challenging

Part 1 Foundations: The Promise and Perils of Paradox

1 Experiencing Tensions 19

Why Paradox? Why Now?

2 Getting Caught in Vicious Cycles 43

Rabbit Holes, Wrecking Balls, and Trench Warfare

Part 2 Approaches: The Paradox System

3 Enabling Virtuous Cycles with the Paradox System 73

Mules and Tightrope Walkers

4 Shifting to Both/And Assumptions 89

Toward a Paradox Mindset

5 Creating Boundaries to Contain Tensions 125

Structures to Stabilize Uncertainty

6 Finding Comfort in the Discomfort 153

Emotions That Accommodate Tensions

7 Enabling Dynamics That Unleash Tensions 173

Changes That Avoid the Ruts

Part 3 Applications: Both/And Thinking in Practice

8 Individual Decisions 199

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

9 Interpersonal Relationships 213

Mending a Widening Divide

10 Organizational Leadership 233

Enabling Sustainable Impact

Appendix 259

Paradox Mindset Inventory

Notes 265

Bibliography 277

Index 289

Acknowledgments 303

About the Authors 309

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews