For over 15 years, CPM has partnered with Barry Johnson, founder and president of Polarity Management Associates to bring the concept of polarities to healthcare. Polarities are interdependent pairs of values or points of view. They need each other over time to gain and maintain performance. Other terms to describe polarities are paradoxes or dilemmas. There is tension between the two “sides”, neither one of them is going away, and the issue cannot be fixed by choosing one or the other.
Because polarities are part of the fabric of history and are found everywhere, they are indestructible and unavoidable. They are present in our personal preferences, group dynamics, organizational issues, and national politics. Here are some examples of polarities:
A close exploration of the nature of the transformative work in healthcare leads to the conclusion that polarities are everywhere in healthcare as well. At CPM, our experience has shown that the skill of managing polarities is fundamental if there is to be long-term success in changing the way that healthcare is delivered and experienced. Polarity Thinking helps us think differently, practice and relate together across all disciplines and across the continuum of care to achieve healthy, healing work cultures and an evidence-based, integrated healthcare system. Bonnie Wesorick writes:
1 B. Wesorick, “21st Century leadership challenge: creating and sustaining healthy healing work cultures and integrated service at the point of care,” Nursing Administration Quarterly, 2002, 26(5): 18-32.
“Many of the cultural shadows that haunt us today and prevent us from reaching a higher ground of a healthy work culture and integrated care are the result of trying to fix problems that are really polarities” 1
Polarities are one of three foundational principles to the CPM Framework. CPM offers Polarity Thinking workshops as part of our Practice Transformation Services. To find out more, please contact us.
To download the CPM Framework and Polarities that must be tapped please click here.
If you’d like to see the references available for polarity thinking please click here.