If your intention is to create a high-performance and high-engagement workplace, there is an interesting and sometimes complex paradox to understand and balance. Leaders need to understand both aspects of the paradox and their role in developing and driving the right culture, behaviour and practices for short-term results and long-term success, write Debbie Craig and John Gatherer.
When exploring the definitions of paradox, originally a paradox was merely a view which contradicted accepted opinion. However, in more recent times, the concept has evolved into a new meaning – an apparently self-contradictory (even absurd) statement, situation or proposition, which on closer inspection is found to contain a truth reconciling the conflicting opposites.
One of the greatest challenges to individuals navigating the rapidly-changing, uncertain white waters of life is to become adept at “riding the waves”, staying on top and finding a balance between the many paradoxes and conflicts that we face in day-to-day life.
In Chinese philosophy "yin and yang" is a philosophy used to describe how polar opposites or contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they impact on each other.
Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, came up with an interesting phrase called the “genius of AND and the tyranny of OR”. It is often not about making a choice between two opposing paths of action, but about finding a balance between two different ends of the same continuum.
We have seen this in many of the highly effective people with whom we have worked and who have a good understanding of yin and yang – they can be shy and fearless; are highly conceptual as well as attending to detail; display empathy and yet are tough; are both strategic and operational. »