Wouldn’t it be great if you could eliminate forever those energy-draining, blood pressure-raising lose-lose debates in your organization?
Sound like a tall order? Not if you follow the teachings of my long-time friends and colleagues, Barry Johnson and Chandra Irviv. They were in town the past two days teaching a Consultant Development Intensive on Polarity Management. Polarity Management is about understanding and tapping the power of paradoxical thinking. Polarities are an often experienced (and sometimes just as often misunderstood) phenomena of interdependent opposites.
Ever been in a conflict-filled meeting trying to solve the problem of whether it’s better to centralize or decentralize operations? How about a hot issue for many companies these days of whether to focus resources on local or global markets? Has anyone ever found the right answer to whether IT other support systems should develop common systems for the whole company or custom ones for different parts of the business?
The problem with trying to solve these problems? You can’t do it That’s because they’re polarities that need to be managed over time. Each side of these arguments, in Barry’s and Chandra’s words, is right. However alone, they are only half right. Each “pole” needs its interdependent opposite for you to succeed over time. Think about it. There are upsides to gain from focusing on each point of view. There are also downsides that will cost you if you over-focus on one point of view to the exclusion of the other. Learning when and how to do this well is what Polarity Management is all about.
Check out Barry’s web site to learn more about how this tool below could help you.
He also has written a book and developed a web-based training program that’ll make the title of this post seem way more than wishful thinking.