Opposites on the Edge

Opposites on the Edge

As much as complexity and chaos force challenges on us; equally, they provide opportunities. I dare say that our world with its enormous potential for connecting with each other put so many opposites on the edge and the challenge is how to manage such opposites to turn them into great opportunities.

Examples of opposites on the edge include the examples in the image below. The tension of opposites on the edge provide a great opportunity to turn this tension into the creation of new ideas and approaches.

One great example is VISA Card. The management allowed for the competition whenever it served a purpose with the simultaneity of allowing for enhanced collaboration among competitors. For example, faulty customers who fail to pay their dues for VISA shall not do so with other cards. So, why not collaborate and remove those customers who create a shared risk among competitors? It is the sweet zone falling between opposites that allow for new forms of collaboration and competition. Here, we allow for the flow. We don’t say competition should be eliminated; rather we say let it thrives in areas where it helps competitors to be creative and meet challenges with new thinking. AT the same time, it fosters collaboration where it needs to be. Collaboration is the order while competition is the chaos of the system.

Take another example of happiness and meaning. A secretary said one “I am happy doing nothing”. This is a void happiness for it deprives life of its meaning. Happiness doesn’t necessarily lead to a meaningful life. A meaningful life may not necessarily lead to a happy life. What we need is to foster happiness and meaningful life the same way we allowed for collaboration and competition to work together. I enjoyed reading an interview by Neda Semnani who interviewed a Harvard physiologist Dr. Susan David. In the interview DR. David said “There is evidence that people who value happiness, people who are focused on being happy, and who set happiness as a goal for themselves become less happy over time. Happiness, we’ve found, is the byproduct of pursuing things that have intrinsic value to us”. We don’t ignore happiness, rather we turn it to give meaning to our lives.

Let us look at opposites as systems. If we interfere in the system. Don’t introduce errors in it by interfering with it. This is what Deming’s Funnel teaches us. Instead of fighting it accept it and go with the flow of its nature. The funnel experiment is a famous illustration by Dr. W. Edwards Deming to show the adverse effects of adjusting a process when not required. Accepting the existence of opposites is a far better approach than trying to eliminate one of the opposites.

I believe that we are moving into zones of tension between adjacent opposites and it is our agility that shall be of great help to turn this tension into meaningful lives and businesses.
Please share your experience of dealing with opposites and the challenges they impose on us.



Clau Valerio 10/1/2019 · #36

Amiguito @Enrique González, Este es artículo del que te hablé de mi querido dr. @Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee, estoy segura será de tu interés!!!

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#34 Precisely is what you wrote "When leaders are focused on their own needs they cant see these quiet shifts happening in the funnel". I find this point of extreme significance because I don't recall anybody mentioning these "quiet shifts" in the funnel. Always, there are mentions of somebody shifting the funnel, but shifts in the funnel without external influence has not been discussed to my best knowledge. This point is worthy of deep investigation.

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Harvey Lloyd 10/1/2019 · #34

#33 I believe for me leadership is summed up in a selfless act of serving. This is not some benevolent statement, but rather a statement we need to seek our own meaning through others in leadership. This is difficult to do when we are concerned with our needs in meaning. Leaders who are stuck in this paradigm cant see the graphics as displayed in the post. Only when it is a towering inferno do the see the challenges. Two months ago it was merely a small issue that was building. When leaders are focused on their own needs they cant see these quiet shifts happening in the funnel.

I have always thought that this is what separates the definition of management and leader. Management is concerned with process and outcome meeting goals. Leaders are concerned about the ability to draw meaning for everyone and a reproducible process that builds on itself. Enhancing collaboration while increasing the competitiveness within the market.

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#32 I did mention briefly Deming's funnel in the buzz and that you have highlighted this point is a source of immense pleasure for me. Yes, it is who passes the funnel and what passes through the funnel and I may add also who throws the ingredients in the funnel.
Nudging the ideas or the funnel of ideas is one way that Deming's simulation included. I encourage readers to see the simulation and the link is provided in the buzz.
I completely and wholeheartedly agree with your conclusion @Harvey Lloyd that why provided the purpose and the shared goal. I challenge people going in one direction and focusing their efforts unless they have the goal shared and even owned by every team member. If not, their paths shall diverge in all directions leading to chaos.

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Harvey Lloyd 10/1/2019 · #32

In my initial read of the graphic i mused about the complexity of group dynamics. Any day any person shows up with emphasis on any of the paradigms displayed. Also on either side. To the average person this would appear to be chaos. To a good leader it is merely their job. Figuring out the various components that are being presented and aligning them so each person within the group can produce at their best, is their job.

Your funnel review made me think that even a great process that is working well can fail as the graphic shows the different ingredients going into the funnel. They all have to fit through the hole at the bottom. Not only fit but also bring meaning to those who participated. I refer here to the people as the ingredients. How we go through the funnel is just as important as what goes through the funnel. Ultimately leading to a shared "why" the funnel is important.

If the why is shared then the tension displayed in the graphics will bring meaning. Without the shared why, after a few cycles of the funnel, meaning will give way to chaos in the ranks. This sounds complex. But the reality is having the vision to see small challenges within the graphic circles is the key. I call it nudging. When you see the challenges arise a mere nudge conversation can refocus the why and stop the negative thoughts from developing a life.

This concept is captured inside "holding thoughts captive". A process where we see others and ourselves expressing unbridled thoughts. Airing out our immediate thought if you will. Not realizing the impact this automatic process has on others. Holding thoughts captive and give them time to be tested within the group is better than thinking out loud.

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#30 The great thing about your comments dear @Harvey Lloyd is that you give meaning to life and our understanding of it. The skilled leader knows how to turn competition into collaboration as you stated. I may add also the leader knows when to foster collaboration and allow room for healthy competition so that the team members may use their creativity to bring new ideas. I always say I am against separate thinking- meaning this or that. Better for me is this and that. The issue is when and what to allow for competition while increasing the dose of collaboration.
You make me rub my hair to expand soon on your great comment.

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Harvey Lloyd 10/1/2019 · #30

The Dr. David quote really brings home the context of the post. Meaning is found in leading or managing the opposites you portray/encounter. Amazingly there is only two ways for meaning to happen. Spiritually or with other humans. The two though are inseparable. The reflection of who we are has to start with a premise of absolutes that we sense are beneficial to not only self but also to others. We then act out the absolutes within relationships and gather reflection that these actions bring meaning, to self and others.

Your graphic shows the places of reflection as we execute with others. Leadership is consistently watching the interplay of groups at these junctions. Realizing that each position brings diversity. Using fun/learning as only one, we can see the fun person as already having the skill while the new person is developing the skill. Joining these two would make for a healthy skill development process. However the fun person, already having the skill, could develop the competition mind set and not be willing to collaborate with the individual needing the skill. Leaders need to be aware and have a language to change competition into collaboration.

Although a benefit to the company if the leader can pull this off, the greater benefit is the fun individual gets to learn the line between competition and collaboration. They learn a new skill from the leader. The leader has now found meaning in life.

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