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Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems
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Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  176 ratings  ·  19 reviews
University level text. Some complex problems simply do not have "solutions." The key to being an effective leader is being able to recognize and manage such problems. Polarity Management presents a unique model and set of principles that will challenge you to look at situations in new ways. Also included are exercises to strengthen your skills, and case studies to help you ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published June 12th 2014 by H R D Press (first published June 1992)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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Gary Mesick
Oct 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
If a business book has a single insight that makes me think differently about the world, it is a success. This book does that. Johnson argues that, in many arguments, we don't have disagreements at all. We aren't even having the same conversation. Instead, one person is talking about the strengths of his own position and the weaknesses of it's polar opposite, while his opponent is arguing the strengths of her position, and the weaknesses of ITS opposite. It is possible--indeed, probable--that th ...more
Cliff Hazell
This is one of the best new ideas I’ve come across recently.
Builds so well on many things I’ve encountered in my working and consulting life...

Provides so many practical tools for understand the depth of influencing factors behind a current situation, patterns we often run into, and tools to understand a more coherent and complete approach to balancing conflicting goals
Andrei Savu
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves a 4+ stars rating on Goodreads. I wish I knew about this concept a couple of years ago. It can really help drive high stakes conversations to good outcomes.
KB
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book but don’t read it. Johnson’s work has moved on quite a bit since this was published and a new book is coming.
Scott Haraburda
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This book discusses an excellent concept for managing common issues at work, at home, and other locations. The author provides an interesting discussion for changing our thought processes for trying to solve problems when both solutions are indeed factual, but at the opposite end of the spectrum. These completing issues are black & white issues, all or nothing in the solution. The author suggests that the better method is to manage the situation within the grey area, leveraging the benefits of b ...more
Muwaffaq
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly interesting perspective that I had not really considered before when managing problems. Lots of applications and thought provoking. Being an old book it has the virtue of communicating its' message quickly and simply without loads of padding. Recommended
Rick Yvanovich
Reframing some things as polarities to manage as opposed to problems to solve does move the goal posts when looking at situations.

It makes a lot of sense and is a pretty straightforward concept.

Making it work in reality is the big challenge!
Stanislav Morozov
Как не занимать крайние позиции, а осознавать +/- полюсов и искать разумный баланс
Sjoerd Waal
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting approach towards "problem solving". Very practical as well
Ariel (ariel_reads)
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a super helpful resource in conflict management, especially in professional contexts such as the workplace.
Denis Vasilev
Книга одной идеи. Идея интересная, но растягивать так материал не стоило.
Greg
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really simple concept that does not require an entire book to explain. I enjoyed the first few chapters and then found the rest to be very repetitive.
Susan
May 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Very helpful idea on managing conflict.
Jane
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, psychology
A crucial tool for consultants and managers--understanding the difference between problems to solve and polarities--two equally valuable approaches or states where the upside of one counters the downside of the other and visa versa...
William
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Good book for people like me who always want to fix the world. Most problems that have been around for hundreds of years can't be fixed only managed. A enjoyable management book for a change.
Jennifer Barnett
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
Super book for those in managerial situations needing to learn more about recognizing and managing unsolvable problems. Excellent resource!
Douglas L Miller
Now I get it

Problems that are never solved could be polarities to be managed. This a very clear way to create both/and thinking. Worth the read!
Matt Rawlins
This is an excellent book on learning about leading though dilemmas. One of the best I have read in a while.
Steve Cooperman
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Jul 03, 2017
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31 likes · 3 comments
“Polarities to manage are sets of opposites that can’t function well independently. Because the two sides of a polarity are interdependent, you cannot choose one as a “solution” and neglect the other. The objective of the Polarity Management perspective is to get the best of both opposites while avoiding the limits of each.” 0 likes
“For every complex problem there is a simple solution. And it’s wrong. – Anonymous” 0 likes
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