What if that problem you’ve been trying to solve is actually impossible to solve?
If your problem is a polarity — you can’t solve it. And you’ll waste a ton of energy in your pursuit.
What is a polarity?
A polarity is a system of two values that appear to be in conflict, but are actually in relationship. Sample polarities are:
- Activity – Rest
- Risk – Safety
- Structure – Flow
- Individual needs – Group needs
Individuals typically have a preferred pole of a polarity. For instance, anyone who knows me can tell you that I REALLY prefer activity over rest.
The problem arises when we over focus on that preferred pole to the neglect of the other.
For instance, when I only focus on activity, I become overwhelmed, anxious and resentful. But when I ebb and flow between activity and rest, I’m managing this polarity system for my benefit and the benefit of others.
There’s nothing wrong with activity. There’s nothing wrong with rest. It’s a both/and not an either/or.
Leaders often stumble when they see a polarity system as something to be solved rather than an interdependent system that needs to be managed.
I’m working with a client that favors non-hierarchical management systems. But as they’ve removed hierarchy from their organizational chart and processes, they’ve run into problems with decision-making and accountability.
They are trying to solve a polarity vs. manage the polarity system of hierarchy and egalitarianism.
Polarities are everywhere — offering you ways to explore the natural flow between the poles.