Organizational Polarities [Quinn]

In doing further exploration into polarity management, I came across this neat image that truly exemplifies the adage of “a picture is worth more than 1,000 words”:

Though to be fair, it’s a picture of mostly words :-)

It was developed by Robert Quinn as part of his book, The Positive Organization, which is now added to my reading queue.

But basic familiarity with polarity management is enough to see the value of this diagram even on a standalone basis, as a really powerful way to capture some of the core organizational polarities, highlighting the key positive and negative of each pole.

I view it as a great tool for jump-starting any organizational polarities conversation. By providing a crude-but-complete (negatives and positives of both poles) jump-off point for the conversation, it can help accelerate the shared empathy and understanding of the opposing views and move participants further along in navigating the more nuanced aspects of the tension.