Doing Change Well - Polarity Management

Join me as we explore the intriguing concept of polarity management.

Polarity management might be new to some of you, as it was to me until recently. Yet, it resonated deeply with my research findings, especially when studying how Council chief executives navigate change in a post-COVID world.

So, what exactly is polarity management? It's the art of managing two seemingly opposing tensions simultaneously. In the realm of change, this plays out when we must balance speed with governance, directive leadership with engagement, and revolutionary change with evolutionary progress.

What's fascinating about polarity management is that it's not about choosing one side over the other. Instead, it's about embracing both tensions and finding harmony between them. This insight emerged as a significant finding in my research: the future of change management lies in mastering the skill of navigating these tensions.

Consider your own leaders—are they adept at dancing between these tensions or do they tend to favour one side? The ability to navigate these tensions effectively is the hallmark of future change leaders.

Why is this important? Because arguing over the right level of governance can waste valuable time when the optimal balance differs for each organisation and even for different phases of the same change programme.

If you're intrigued by this concept and eager to explore how it can transform your organisation's approach to change, I'm here to chat further. Let's move beyond the polarity of 'either-or' and embrace the power of 'both-and' thinking.

By Lucy Trueman | 17th April 2024

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