Leadership, Porta-Potties, and Dumpsters

On a recent neighborhood walk, I passed a home undergoing renovation. There were several telltale signs – workers milling about, a building in disrepair, and both a dumpster and porta-potty nearby.

The latter items caught my eye. Why? The dumpster and the porta-potty sat side-by-side on the same carriage.

It was brilliant.

Someone must have thought, “Dumpsters often come with porta-potties. Can we combine them?”

Building contractors do not choose to order a porta-potty or a dumpster. They order both of them for a worksite. Why not bring them together?

We often look at situations as OR scenarios.

  • I can do this OR that.
  • We can choose this OR that.

We set things up that way in our minds from the very beginning.

The reality is that many situations have the potential to be AND opportunities.

  • I can do this AND that.
  • We can choose this AND that.

In Blue Ocean Strategy, authors Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim share the Value Innovation model. The model challenges leaders to rethink the all too common OR mindset. While traditional thinking suggests that customers can get greater value (i.e. increased benefits) or pay a lower price, Blue Ocean Strategy contends that companies can do both. They can provide increased customer value and keep costs down.

Here’s your AND opportunity.


  • Listen to this Leadership Lab podcast episode. It’s encore performance of my conversation with executive coach, author, and friend Eddie Turner. Eddie is the type of person we all need in our lives. He asks great questions, listens to understand, and, as you will learn from my conversation with him, has the power to motivate people to win!