Polarity Group Exercise

Rich shared something interesting on Twitter about managing polarities in groups.

how do you hold multiple divergent perspectives without needing to collapse them down to unity?

Rich Bartlett
diagram with a center box split into 4 equal sections. The left reads tasks and the right reads relationships. The top quadrants indicate a thriving workplace between those two "polarities" and the bottom a dysfunctional workplace. Around the box from top left clockwise is Action Steps for tasks, Action Steps for relationships, Early warning signs that relationships are failing, early warning signs that tasks are failing.
  1. start by naming a polarity that’s present in a group: two competing values that are of most benefit when they are in balance
  2. hold a conversation, starting at the bottom right quadrant: just look at one pole and describe what goes wrong when we are overbalanced towards this pole & neglecting the other e.g. what do you fear would happen if we only focus on relationships and neglect tasks?
  3. then move to the top left: what do you value about the other pole? (e.g. what is good about being task-focussed?)
  4. then bottom left: what do you fear would happen if we over-focus on tasks at the expense of relationships?
  5. then top right: what do you value about the first pole? (what is good about being relationship-focussed?)
  6. then we named action steps we could take to further embody values from both poles
  7. and “warning signs”: indications that we might be getting too focussed on one side of the polarity and need to counterbalance more in the other direction

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