The following are excerpts from a Fast Company article by Katerina Walter (read the whole article here) – great examples of two very different perspectives working well together, each complimenting & filling in, the other’s shadows without diminishing their own bright spots.
It’s not easy but when opposite perspectives or worldviews work well together, magic happens. Take a look see.
Facebook’s model of two worlds–product development and operational excellence–integrated together and led by two people who complement each other offers an outstanding example of a company that is succeeding through strategic partnership. I call this partnership model “The Visionary and The Builder.”
The Visionary is the partner who is a “dream architect”–he has a clear understanding of the company’s purpose and shapes its long-term strategic outlook based on that purpose; he leads the company through inspiration and blue-sky vision.
The Builder is the partner who is a “value architect”–she leads the functions that support the mission of The Visionary and ensures that this mission is executed operationally.
This is not to say that the two don’t ever overlap, or that the two partners don’t share a common vision, interests, or skills. But for this model to work successfully, as it has for Facebook, the two partners each need to have distinguished skill sets that the other doesn’t possess. In the case of Facebook, Zuckerberg focuses on product development and the platform’s global expansion, because that is what he is great at, and Sandberg brings operational skills that ensure stability and discipline within the company as it executes on Zuck’s vision.
Walt Disney example:
Walt Disney, whose remarkable imagination created the world of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and many more beloved cartoon characters, relied heavily on his brother, Roy O. Disney, in building his empire. Walt gave his older brother a lot of credit for building an entertainment business out of his fantasies.It was Roy who lent his brother $250 on top of Walt’s $40 investment to start their partnership and open a cartoon studio. Their uncle lent them an additional $500.
In the early days, Walt drew his cartoon characters, and Roy worked the cameras and kept the finances in check. Together they built an amazing empire and brightened the world for millions of kids. When Walt Disney passed away, his brother took the helm of the company.
But Roy didn’t try to fill the creative shoes of his sibling, stating that Walt had built a great organization and that he would keep Walt’s spirit alive. Roy did not change the direction of the company, continuing the legacy of his younger brother.
While Walt had a dream, Roy had the knowledge and capabilities to help his brother make his dream a reality. Roy was eight years older, had experience working in a bank, and also knew that his brother was prone to neglect his business affairs, focusing too much on the artistic side.
A brilliant businessman, Roy stayed in the shadows and provided strong support to Walt as he created fascinating stories that captured the imagination of children around the world.