Chapter 2

The ABCs of Using Paradox Thinking

“How wonderful that we have met witha paradox. Now we have some hope ofmaking progress.”

—Niels Bohr, Nobel Prize–winning physicist

As you explore paradoxes and start to identify those that are active in your organization, consider this: Paradoxes are tied to a greater purpose—what I call the Aim. The Aim illuminates the necessity of the pair(s) of interdependent opposites; managing both well is vital if you want to achieve your Aim.

It’s easy to say that stability and change are opposites, but those concepts become linked and gain meaning as a pair when they refer to the growth of any business. Take a consumer business, for example. The company must maintain stability in order to sustain customer ...

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