Polarity management

A change leadership approach using a polarity lens

The Paradoxical Theory of Change

The Paradoxical Theory of Change briefly states, “change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not.” We believe that this same change theory is also applicable to organizations – that true change only occurs when change efforts are directed to integration and holism in the organizational system. This requires that the organization becomes conscious of polarized and alienated fragments within and without so it can bring them into the main functional activities by processes similar to identification in the individual. It requires that:

  • First, there is an understanding of the true essence of the organization – the purpose for its existence.
  • Second is recognition within the system that alienated fragments/polarities exists
  • Third is the ability to see those fragments/polarities as either parts of a greater whole or toxins that need to be weeded out. This process, in turn, leads to integration and facilitates a harmonious development of the whole system.

The Polarity management approach is a natural way to integrate and facilitate health in systems. It provides the means to see the whole picture, recognize interdependencies among fragments (polarities) and be able to leverage the energy between and convert resistance into a resource.


Polarities, also called paradoxes or ‘wicked’ problems are unsolvable dilemmas. They show up as interdependent pairs that need each other over time to maintain and gain performance. Since polarities are unavoidable, they are present in every individual, team, and organization and cannot be solved using the traditional one-right answer or EITHER/OR problem-solving thinking paradigm that we have mastered all our lives – in school, at home and work. They are managed using a different paradigm around leveraging through BOTH/AND (polarity) thinking. This kind of thinking requires the wisdom to see the whole picture and be able to differentiate between a solvable problem and a polarity to manage; recognize the inherent tensions between the poles of the polarity, and the ability to leverage the energy between so upsides on both sides are maximized, and downsides minimized.

Most ongoing chronic issues in the organizations and in the society are polarities: Examples;

  • Continuity AND Transformation
  • Current way of working AND Strategic Plan
  • Self and Others
  • Training AND Development
  • Work AND Life Balance
  • Individual Performance AND Organizational Performance
  • Customer needs AND Customer Wants
  • Individual Development AND Team Development
  • Strategic Management AND Operational Management
  • Evidence-based leadership AND Intuitive Leadership
  • Health AND Economy
  • Environment AND Economy

Learning to harness and leverage the energy between the two poles helps you achieve goals faster, improve learning and convert resistance to a resource for sustainable.

The BSEA Polarity Management Offering


We deliver consulting, coaching and inhouse training services using the Polarity Approach to Continuity and Transformation (PACT™) in the following contexts:

  • Board Leadership
  • Organizational Change
  • Change for Organizational Strategy and Transformation
  • Self Leadership for the Youth
  • Self Leadership
  • Project change
  • Organizational Culture and Values
  • Team and Individual Transformation
In partnership with Polarity Partnerships
We offer two levels of training and certification in Polarity Thinking™ and the PACT™ process.  Our levels of certification are:

  • PACT™ Foundations & Professional Applications

Integrate Polarity Thinking™ The Polarity Assessment™ Into What You Do & How You Do ItOur cloud-based Polarity Resource Portal provides best-in-class support for anyone wanting to learn and do more with Polarity concepts, practices and tools. A sampling of benefits include:

  • Step-by-step support in the 5-Steps of Seeing, Mapping, Assessing, Learning and Leveraging Polarities
  • Public and Personal Polarity Map® Libraries – An ever expanding resource of common Polarity wisdom experienced across a broad range of contexts and sectors

The PACT™ Process helps you to see the whole, map and transform the energy contained in polarities. Exploring how polarities may help you better understand the issues and opportunities you’re facing right now both those inside and outside your organization. It also helps you to think through the polarities that will provide the greatest leverage in achieving your desired results.


Organization Wide Training and Consulting

BSEA, in partnership with Polarity Partnerships, offers a combination of certification training that prepares internal resources to apply advanced PACT™ concepts, practices and tools in a variety of training, coaching and consulting contexts inside their organization. Fully trained and licensed Client Organizations receive the following services & benefits:

  • Consulting support using the PACT™ to:  See, Map and Transform the energy contained in polarities that will have the greatest positive impact in your organization; explore how polarities may help you better understand the issues and opportunities you’re facing right now, both those inside and outside your organization, and to identify the polarities that will provide the greatest leverage in achieving your organization’s strategy.
  • Training and certification in PACT™ of 15 internal consultants to sustain the learnings long after consultants are gone
  • Certified & Licensed Member Accounts for all resources receiving certification in PACT™ PLUS:
  • Added functionality to conduct common and custom Polarity Assessments™ to determine how well leaders, teams and/or organization are leveraging your key polarities. Monitor progress over time and course-correct as needed to sustain momentum and success
  • Advanced Polarity workshop and webinar recordings and PowerPoint presentations to assist in the ongoing personal and professional development of key internal resources
  • Continued access to all Foundations in PACT™ Training Videos
  • Basic Member Accounts to help cascade Polarity concepts, practices and tools throughout the organization through independent, self-service access to Polarity training materials.
  • One year access to Memberships to the Polarity Resource Portal where access to Polarity concepts, practices and tools

Leveraging polarity thinking is a scalable skill designed for anyone who wants to lead change, no matter the size of the system you’re working with. BSEA, in partnership with POLARITY PARTNERSHIPS, a leader in polarity management, Polarity thinking and polarity approach, offers training and certification services support to individuals and teams.

Organization’s Change Design Teams Workshops

We offer three-day in-house and virtual custom workshops to introduce and apply Polarity Thinking™ and the Polarity Approach to Continuity and Transformation (PACT™) in your context. Basic program objectives include:

  1. Describing what polarities are and how they work
  2. Appreciating the value of “Either/Or” Problem Solving & “Both/And” Polarity Leveraging
  3. Understand why using “Either/Or” Thinking to address Polarities doesn’t work
  4. Use resistance as a valuable resource for significant, sustainable change
  5. Using technology effectively leverage polarities overtime to raise your performance ceiling & sustain a competitive advantage over time.

The workshop includes:

  • Training in the five-step SMALL (Seeing, Mapping, Assessing, Learning and Leveraging) model: 

SEEINGAppreciate complex challenges and opportunities and see more of the whole reality

It entails:

  • Understanding what polarities are and how they work
  • Identifying polarities that have the greatest impact on whether they achieve their preferred future/strategy
  • Identifying the Polarities underlying the most strategic issues and opportunities.

MAPPING  – Identify desired results, values, and competencies

This step is about incorporating the most strategic challenges and opportunities into a polarity based assessment. You will:

  • Build polarity maps for each of the key polarities identified as being most important to the organization.
  • Identify what you are currently doing and what you plan on doing in relation to the upsides associated with your polarities.
  • You will quantify some early warning signals that can alert you when you begin to experience the downsides of a polarity so they can course correct. The items they include in their maps automatically get converted into your assessment instrument.
  • You will also begin planning how you’ll analyze and communicate your results and recommendations to the rest of the organization.

ASSESSING Utilize the Polarity Assessment™ to gather quantitative metrics from key stakeholders

This step is about learning from a critical mass of employees and stakeholders how well they think the organization is managing their most strategic polarities.

  • You will engage a broad base of key stakeholders to assess how well you are currently managing the organization’s key polarities.
  • People participating in the process will log onto Polarity Partnerships secure web site and complete the assessment. Once the assessment period is closed, their results are immediately available.

LEARNING: Make meaning from Assessment results, gaining insight into current strengths and vulnerabilities

This step is about gaining insights into how to effectively leverage your polarities and the impact this has on their ability to achieve and sustain success. It is also about understanding the results from your PACT™ so you can make smart decisions about how to manage your key polarities better in the future.

LEVERAGING: Develop and execute strategies to achieve and sustain desired results.

This last step is about identifying those action steps and early warnings that will ensure the organizations leverages its polarities, achieve desired results, and sustain success.

  • An annual license to the Polarity Assessment™ Assessment Portal

The Polarity Assessment™ provides a more accurate measurement of the dynamics of complex and interdependent systems.

  • Three four-hour coaching and support sessions in reviewing one major polarity in your organization. 
  • Ongoing support can be given for a discount fee.
  • Your investment… We recommend your entire leadership and management team participates in this program to promote change leadership and management.
  • In house Program: $23,000

  • The fees for your up to 12 people:
  • * For additional participants add $500 per person.


    BSEA is a Strategy and Performance Management consulting and training firm that provides simple, practical performance improvement solutions that incorporate proven methodologies and software. Training and change management are an integral part of our solutions.


    Kufuga Road off Lang'ata Road

    P.o Box 76048

    Nairobi, Kenya, KE


    0707 968982