Polarity describes the condition that arises when you must make a decision involving two equally crucial yet opposing options; understanding polarity allows you to transform such “dilemmas” into breakthroughs. Polarity is inherent in the structure of the Leadership Diamond®, as shown in the version of the Diamond below.
Polarity is a deep structure of human existence that must be understood in order to master the four Diamond components. Each component is itself ambiguous, paradoxical, conflicting, and comes with a polarity. Examples include:
  • Reality/Vision: How do you successfully move a company toward a strategic Vision that is necessary for growth while managing the existing (and possibly very different) operational Reality? How do you allocate investments in risky new ventures while maintaining optimal funding for currently profitable—but stagnant—operations?
  • Ethics/Courage: How do you make courageous moves into new markets in which cultural norms test your long-held corporate values? How do you make courageous decisions necessary to satisfy shareholders—such as downsizing in response to reduced demand—while maintaining empathy and being of service to the affected employees?
  • Purpose: Purpose is your fundamental reason for existence. It is the visible life goal that your Passion inspires you to achieve. Your individual Passion will help determine and support your individual Purpose, and individual Passion provides a leverage point for aligning individual Purpose with organizational Purpose.
  • Values: Values are fundamental guiding principles; they are so fundamental, in fact, that the individual or organization that holds them would cease operations before violating them.
  • Vision: In the context of Strategic Foundations, the often-misunderstood term “Vision” refers to a company’s bold, ambitious, and ultimately achievable aspirations for its own future. Your individual Vision is comprised of goals that similarly plot a course towards your Purpose.
This is a brief explanation of a very complex and powerful concept that is examined in much more detail in Peter Koestenbaum’s book The Philosophic Consultant and also explored in more depth in our Greatness: The Leadership Calling™ service offering.