Last week I worked with the leadership team of Philip Island Nature Parks.

Their mission is ‘To conserve and enhance the Nature Parks’ environment for current and future generations, achieving a balanced environmental, economic and social outcome.’ Put simply, you could say their mission is ‘to save the penguins to save the environment’.

In the past there has been a constant tension between the two imperatives the organisation must manage – conservation VERSUS commercial. In recent years this apparent dichotomy has been managed by two clear strategies:

  1. A clear and agreed mission statement putting conservation first.
  2. ‘AND’ thinking – it’s not either/or, it’s both conservation AND commercial imperatives that matter. Good commercial ventures fund the conservation objectives and ensure the organisation is sustainable.

Often when I work with leadership teams there are clear dichotomies at play, and focusing on either/or thinking limits the team’s ability to fulfill its objectives. Here are a few recent examples:

  • Innovative VERSUS Get it right first time
  • Rules are right (Risk and compliance provides a framework) VERSUS Do what it takes (Entrepreneurial thought provides a framework)
  • Increasing revenue VERSUS decreasing costs
  • Focus on people VERSUS focus on task
  • Executive team collectively leading the organisation VERSUS Executive team as a group of divisional heads

How many of these resonate with you? How could some AND thinking expand your leadership?

Have an Extraordinary day.


PS There’s some great stuff going on at Phillip Island so get down and visit the penguins! And while you are there visit The Koala Conservation Centre and take a step back in time to Churchill Island.


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