All for one AND one for all worked for the Three Musketeers. It worked because one was just as committed as the other, but that mutual commitment is rare. Whether you are making a business decision or assessing relationships in your personal life, the choice often comes down to whether You are All for One OR One for All.
In business, the All for One model equates to providing every possible service to a specified group of people or businesses. Conversely, the One for All model is based on providing one product or service to everybody you can reach.
As is so often the case, there are pros and cons for each model and there isn’t necessarily a right answer or a better model. Like so many decisions and choices, the key is to understand what is at stake, your purpose and mission, and then determine which of these models works for you and your business.
Many years ago, the management team of our Credit Union analyzed these options and decided that our best course of action was to focus on the All for One model. Specifically, we decided to become a full service financial institution and to make it our mission to meet every financial need Police Officers and Police families could ever encounter. This is the best decision we could have made, but it is also difficult to master.
What we decided to be as a business is only one aspect of the equation. We must consistently demonstrate to our members who we are as a business and, even if we do, there is certainly no guarantee they are going to see us in the way we see ourselves.
In the daily execution of the All for One model, we face a lot of variables across many products and services, any one of which can temporarily impair our mission to be everything financial for our members. In my opinion, however, our focus on this model is the only strategy that will ensure our longevity and prosperity as a business.
When a business chooses to focus on one service or product or the One for All model, it is much easier for that business to become experts at that service or product. Variables, the enemy of quality, are easier to control, which means fewer things are likely to go wrong. The difficulty in the use of this model is ensuring that the business stays relevant to its clientele even though it only has one product or service to offer them.
When it comes to your personal life, the same decision becomes even more complicated and subjective.
You should know by now that if you attempt to be a friend to everyone, you will likely end up being a friend to no one. Some friendships will be worth your attempt to be as complete of a friend as you can be, or the personal equivalent of the All for One model. Others will be limited to the time that you spend or the aspect of your personality that fits that friendship. If you’re the guy that many of your friends go to for advice, but you otherwise don’t really hang out, then those friendships could be described as the One for All model.
In friendships, the model that wins out is often not your choice to make, at least not solely your choice. Sometimes, you end up taking what you can get. In other cases, you end up spending much more time and energy on a friendship than you would rather.
As a parent, your relationship with your child is largely defined by nature when that child is born. The immensity and specificity of his or her needs form the definition of an All for One relationship. As the parent, you are the sole provider and caretaker of that child. You are essentially everything to him or her. As time progresses, however, that relationship inevitably evolves and that’s when things can get tricky.
As your child develops into adolescence and young adulthood, he or she will naturally have a more significant say regarding the nature of your relationship and the model will most assuredly change from the All for One version to something not quite as involved, whether you are ready for that change or not.
I have given this parent child relationship evolution a lot of thought lately and I really haven’t come up with an exact definition of what occurs yet, but in the context of these models, I think it boils down to this. No matter what dynamics take place or how quickly your child matures or even how he or she defines the relationship, your best choice as a parent is to remain all in, fully committed to the All for One model. My only qualifications for offering this opinion are the excellent advice I have received from those who have parented through this evolution before me and the power of my up-to-the minute observational skills.
So, whether you are considering your business and your career or your role as a friend or a parent, it helps to not only know what model you are using, but how committed you are to it. When you face adversity or begin to question your whether you should alter your approach, will you stay the course or change direction?
If you made the right decision to begin with and the purpose of your business is in line with the model you are operating, you need not revisit the past. Focus on the tasks at hand and in front of you.
If you understand the nature of your friendships and relate to those friends in ways that are consistent with who you are and what you value, stay true to yourself and give yourself credit for what you add to those relationships, so that when times are tough you don’t unnecessarily question whether you have fallen short as a friend.
As far as the parenting goes, there really is only one answer and it was determined the second you became a parent. You are all in, unconditionally, and without exception, no matter the challenge or how much your relationship changes with age or experiences.
This article is part of Scott Arney's educational series, entitled The Serial Decision Maker.