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Jul 29, 2022

When thinking about your personal preferences and habits at work, do you tend to favor structure, or flexibility? Centralization or decentralization? When leading others, do you strive to challenge your team, or support them? 

While these examples may seem to be contradictions, they are some of the most common instances of polarities in organizations. Kelly Lewis, an executive coach, leadership consultant, and author of the book Navigating Polarities: Using Both/And Thinking to Lead Transformation, has been using polarities as a lens in her coaching and client work for several decades. In Episode 105 of The MINDSet Game® podcast, Kelly discusses the following:

  • The definition of polarities, or situations where there are two interdependent states that need each other in order to be successful
  • How supplementing “either/or” thinking with a “both/and” mindset can improve communication, relationships, and ultimately, results
  • Various sensemaking tools to help individuals and teams navigate polarities while minimizing conflict 
  • The role of both the heart and the mind—including qualities such as compassion and curiosity—in softening the extreme edges of polarities and beginning to see each pole as part of an interdependent pair 

In addition to her work as an executive coach, Kelly is the co-founder of Andiron, a leadership development consultancy committed to providing the space and tools for transformation. To learn more, visit, where you will find sections on navigating polarities and the Key Polarity Indicator™ tool. 

To subscribe to The MINDset Game podcast, visit