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Integrating Perspectives


Anna McGrath from Godfrey Dadich Partners is one of the most enlightened people I've ever met.  She's cool & wise which is a rare combo!  Had the pleasure of attending a workshop she did called "Integrating Opposite Perspectives" are my notes from our time together...

How can you ensure everyone is working towards a common goal when they all seem to be coming from so many different points of reference?

Diverse ideas & perspectives can be a source of strength in your organization.  Opposite perspectives & preferences have power known as polarities or paradoxes.  To enhance the creativity & performance of your team we must harness the energy & power of each of these!

Opposites are interdependent & facilitate one another just like breathing in depends on breathing out.

Integrating Opposite Positive Perspectives

Individual vs. Team

Task vs. Relationship

Knowing vs. Openness to Learning

Directive vs. Supportive

Honesty vs. Kindness

Logic vs. Emotions

Focused vs. Expansive

Responsibility vs. Freedom

Data Driven Decision-Making vs. Intuitive Decision-Making

Continuity vs. Transformation

Innovation vs. Execution

Customer Care vs. Employee Engagement

Planned vs. Emergent

Have everyone circle their preferences then discuss how these have supported strong relationships, created divisions & the ripple effect of each in your organization.

Problem to Solve OR Polarity to Leverage?

Problems to solve are NOT ongoing.  They have an end point & ARE solvable.  Independent alternatives exist & often contain mutually exclusive opposites.

Hire or Fire

What questions will be on our engagement survey?

What vendor should we use for our cell phone needs?

What color do we paint the office?

Polarities to leverage ARE ongoing.  They have NO end point, are NOT solvable & must be leveraged together.  Interdependent alternatives exist & always contain mutually inclusive opposites.

Purpose & Profit

Continuity & Innovation

Logic & Emotions

Responsibility & Freedom

Mindset Shift

Recognize when individual preferences have been overemphasized.  These can derail personal interactions, projects & affect overall business results.  To include & honor multiple perspectives, expand your understanding of the situation, the behavior or the individual.  Offer shared language to pinpoint what's really going on in an interaction or business challenge.  Create aligned actions to achieve your goals/metrics and recognize any organizational patterns or trends.  Let's look at some of the polarities...

Personal Polarities

Logic vs. Emotions

Focused vs. Expansive

Honesty vs. Kindness

Leadership Polarities

Individual vs. Team

Task vs. Relationship

Accountability vs. Unconditional Respect

Knowing vs. Openness to Learning

Responsibility vs. Freedom

Organizational Polarities

Innovation vs. Execution

Part of the Organization vs. Whole Organization

Organizations Performance vs. Organizations Purpose

Data Driven Decisions vs. Intuitive Decisions

Opposite Positives Mapping

Write down opposite polarities.

Write down positive results of focus on both Right & Left poles.

Write down negative results of over-focus on the Left pole in neglect of the Right pole.

Write down negative results of over-focus on the Right pole in neglect of the Left pole.

How will we gain or maintain positive results from focusing on the Right/Left pole?

What will happen?

Who will gain?  Who will this hurt?

What measurements do we need in place?

Watch the things you can count (measurable indicators), they will let you know you're getting into the downside of either Right/Left pole.

While employee engagement in the U.S. is moving in the positive direction, 6 out of 10 workers still report some level of disengagement.  Everyone deserves to feel safe at feel valued & to feel their ideas are heard.  When we live with too much drama it leads to negative coping actions.

Getting aligned strongly with your organization's purpose while leveraging the diverse perspectives of the people inside it will help move you toward the ease & flow of presence.  You'll know you're getting there when you see signs that people are free from constrictions, they see more possibilities, they take full responsibility for issues, are no longer interested in right/wrong, they see others as allies and easily express their emotions.  When we take what we do seriously but can easily laugh at ourselves we're leaving space for other people's perspectives & preferences.

If this is intriguing & you'd like to learn more about how this approach can impact your team please let me know

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This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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