Ruthlessness and Charity
In an editorial in todayâ€™s Wall Street Journal, Lawrence B. Lindsey, author of a new book â€œWhat a President should Know â€¦ but Most Learn Too Lateâ€ gives the opinion that we (the electorate) should seek (as our president) an individual who is ruthless about protecting us against others, but (who) acts with charity towards all and malice towards none at home.
Lindsey acknowledges immediately that this is a tall order.
I donâ€™t know if Lindseyâ€™s opinion is (a) correct or (b) translates into the business world, but itâ€™s an interesting hypothesis about the contrast between an â€œaggressive, competitiveâ€ style when dealing with the external world, and a â€œnurturing, collaborativeâ€ style that many (including me) would advocate inside the firm.
I have a suspicion that â€œswitchingâ€ mindsets is difficult for many people, if not most of us. Those who are aggressive externally may have a bias towards creating internally competitive organizations, and those who tend toward the â€œnurturing, collaborativeâ€ style may fail to evoke the ambition and dynamism on the external marketplace needed for commercial success.
We could create a categorization scheme of four types (of people or organizations):
- Externally aggressive, internally nurturing and collaborative
- Externally aggressive, internally aggressive
- Externally nurturing and collaborative, internally aggressive
- Externally nurturing and collaborative, internally nurturing
Which would you bet on to succeed? Which do you think is actually most common?