3 Ways to Adopt a Paradox Mindset
Friday 07 May 2021
Each day, we face decision-making paradoxes. Conflicting questions such as, "do we invest in efficiency or innovation?" or "do we want things to change or stay the same?" perpetually evade our business agendas. These situations are magnetic poles that pull us towards one idea and not the other, forcing us to make trade-offs. However, a paradox mindset removes this "either-or" barrier with a "both-and" mentality. Here are three ways to adopt this approach.
In opposite terms, Albert Einstein contemplated how an object could be both at rest and moving depending on the observer's position. This contradictory thought process led to the discovery of the theory of relativity. We can also think in opposite terms by being passionate about our ideas and innovations yet willing to critique them. Follow this two-step framework to embrace counter-intuitive concepts to develop your creative thinking.
Recent studies show that adopting the paradox mindset not only motivates individual excellence, but companies that implement paradoxical strategies tend to outperform their peers. For example, Kind Snacks, a New York-based food company, successfully made a chewy and crunchy granola bar – a seemingly contradictory objective. The company's founder, Daniel Lubetzky, explained that instead of compromising, "we decided to challenge our teams to find 'and' solutions". Follow these tips on how to embrace paradoxes in leadership to spark creativity in your teams today.
Embodying a paradox mindset allows us to thrive in an ever-changing marketplace. Managers with this mentality can encourage others to confront conflict by serving competing demands. Great leaders are also model citizens of contradictions, as they need to be both confident and humble, leading and following, and organised and flexible to build optimism and resilience in tomorrow’s workforces.