After 5 days of intense back to back session from 9 am to 6 pm at the StartingBloc Institute in DC, I still have a hangover. Not in the traditional sense as you think- from the party or drinks but from the information, loads of information that I am still trying to process. One would say 9-6 is a normal day for most; why would you get a hangover from that?

In case of starting bloc (SB), the official classroom activity based sessions were the ones that ended 6 after which we had either  a discussion dinners or something happening after that and you we never reached your room before 10 pm that often became even later on most of the days. The lack of sleep and over load of information is what led to this Hangover. When I heard about starting bloc hangover concept on day one, I just laughed at the idea but now I believe that SB hangover is a true thing.

I met over 70 amazing individuals that are passionate about making a change in the world. Entrepreneurs, innovators,  teachers, social workers, students, professional that came from all over the world to attend this program.

One of my biggest take always from this program was the concept of polarity. Polarity also has an infinite circle (quite similar to the vicious circle of poverty, most of us know about) that every individual tries to balance in our daily lives. Polarity holds true for one’s individual self, relationships, organisations we work in and community as a whole. Most of you I am sure would be wondering what the hell I am talking about.

Let me try and break it down and see if I can recall all that I learnt and explain it to you. We have been used to seeing thing in duality whether we realize it or not, for example- Good side and dark side, high versus low or cold and hot, even life and death. If you look carefully then you would realize that the examples I have given above are the extreme ends of a pole or the spectrum. This is how our brain is naturally taught to process things.  Be it a relationship or team or organisation as a whole we all view things in this dual lens.







Dr. Barry Johnson came up with this concept of polarity management more than 20 years ago so hence is relatively a new concept. Dr. Johnson, argues that choosing between polar opposites is as pointless as choosing between breathing in or breathing out.  Choosing one over the other is not appropriate, let alone possible.

Let me try and illustrate the same with an example. As professionals we often struggle with the dichotomy of change over stability. We all support organizational change; however we do not want to change and seek stability. This can be explained further in the below diagram

Polarity 1








As individual within the organisations we seek changes within the organisation to accommodate the changing environment as that would infuse progress and new energy. However as change lose its momentum the frustration settles in, the constantly changing procedures, and leads to inconsistency, chaos or frustration with always changing procedures and protocols.  We now seek stability, to be able to predict and have some form of consistency. The flip side of this is leaning more towards stability will lead to stagnation as the organisation would not want to take risk or venture into new markets and stagnation among employees as well.

This brings me to the infinite circle as we are always struggling to balance between the both ends of the poles. If there is constant change we look for stability and with long term stability we look for infusing change but then with change we go back to seeking stability. We keep running in the loop trying to balance it and there is no way out. This concept in no way suggests that one side of pole is better than the other end, it shows us that each end of the pole is important for the existence of the other end of the pole and are interrelated .

This concept not only holds true for organisation but for us as individuals as well and now imagine why I have a SB hangover as I am trying to identify the poles that not only play in my personal life but also my professional life and adding the caviar to that are the organizational poles. They are so many poles building a network and none of them would follow a linear path together, I feel like I am one of those circus artist try to balance a pole but at the same time juggle everything else. Do you feel the same way??


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