Home Tools Coaching Questions Talking Polarities: From Just Either/Or to Supplementing Either/Or with Both/And

Talking Polarities: From Just Either/Or to Supplementing Either/Or with Both/And

6 min read

“You don’t understand your responsibility for our overall costs. I’m concerned that we won’t have enough money for the improvements we need.”

“I cannot get my patients into hospital. Our patients are starting to ask about going to another hospital.”

Does this sound familiar?

When we’re arguing we tend to start with the upsides of our preferred pole, and the person at the other pole argues for the upsides of his pole. Here’s a learning point: We’re more afraid of the downsides of the non-preferred pole than we are enthusiastic about the upsides of the preferred pole. Humans are naturally risk averse. Research show that we’re more apt to hold onto something we have, sometimes to our detriment, than we are to take a risk.

So . . . how can this help you when you’re working through a polarity pair, such as Mission and Margin?

Map the polarity pole you prefer, say Mission. And then put yourself in the role of the person who prefers the other polarity pole, in this case, Margin. What are the downsides of your preferred pole – the negatives from focusing too much on Mission to the neglect of Margin? Address these fears when negotiating with those who prefer the other pole. Even better: Ask the person who prefers the other pole to work with you.

Look at the downsides of focusing on the pole you don’t prefer – and ask your counterpart to address those.

Our clients, and especially our physician clients, find this a valuable exercise to complete, to understand other points of view, in negotiation and patient care.






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