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Transforming Polarity, a Tool for Reality -

Organizations that effectively manage polarities outperform their competition on average by over 700%. Polarities are opposing viewpoints and/or perspectives which do not function well independently. For example, what if you had to make a choice between breathing out or breathing in - and you could only chose one? As you can imagine, it wouldn't work very well for very long.

The object of the Polarity Management (PM) perspective is to get the best of opposites. The secret is to identify key polarities within our organization's life and to capitalize on the natural tension between the poles and create a channel for creative energy resulting in superior outcomes.

It has been used as a core competency in leadership development; as a way to capitalize on the best of cultures involved in mergers and acquisitions; as a key to service integration; as a way to convert resistance to change into a resource for change; in strategic planning; and in tapping the tension inherent in interdependence.

The situations above have common qualities, which can be found in most work:

 1.       They involve complex issues at many levels of system.
 2.       They contain key underlying polarities (dilemmas, paradoxes).
 3.       The problem solving mindset alone is not sufficient to navigate these issues.

Identifying, mapping, and strategically and tactically managing one or more of the key polarities makes a noticeable difference.

Dr. Barry Johnson

Dr. Barry Johnson is the author of Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems. His Polarity Mapping tool is used by organizations worldwide to help leaders understand and manage ambiguity.

Dr. Johnson has been an OD consultant for over 25 years. Some of his clients include: Amoco, General Motors, Motorola, Shell Oil, Intel of Ireland, UK Cabinet Top Management Program, Unilever de Mexico, Cargill, Illinois Hospital and Health Services Association, The Hartford, and Xerox. Barry has a Ph.D. in OD from International College and is a graduate of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland's OSD program.

Prior to consulting, Dr. Johnson founded: a manufacturing company, a residential treatment program for addicted adults, a 24 hour community crisis phone service, and a Newspaper. For more information on Dr. Johnson and Polarity Management, please visit

Let's think together.

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Last edited May 12, 2004 1:29 pm CentralTimeUSA by MichaelHerman
© 1998-2020 Michael Herman and, unless signed by another author or organization. Please do not reprint or distribute for commercial purposes without permission and full attribution, including web address and this copyright notice. Permission has always been granted gladly to those who contact me and say something about themselves, their work, and their use of these materials. Thank you and good luck! - Michael