No doubt you’re familiar with the concept of Yin-Yang, or how seemingly opposites are actually interdependent.  Sort of like husband & wife!

For some reason this popped up in my mind the other day related to business, and I quickly identified four areas where it’s highly relevant:

– Strategy: Organizations should have both a planned strategy (otherwise how would they have any idea what business they’re in?), but also need to be open to emergent strategy … evolution/shifts in their environment or internal capabilities that might bring about other strategic opportunities they’ve not thought of.

– Variance: In some situations we need to reduce variation (e.g., consistency), while in others we may need to increase it (meeting specific needs).

– Process control versus improvement:  Somewhat similar to managing variance, but at a higher level.  For some processes we need very tight control (hope this is done in pharma production!), while at the same time we need to be identifying opportunities for change.

– Outside in versus Inside out: Where should new product ideas come from?  Certainly some can come from talking with actual or potential customers.  But as many have said, probably no one asked for an iPhone, electric light bulb, … 

No wonder it’s difficult running a business … or is it?  Flexibility can made a big difference!