WATCH: The Paradox of Strategy

Today, I’d like to talk about The Paradox of Strategy It’s one of the 12 Paradoxes developed by Dr. Dan Harrison

Paradox of Strategy


And it’s interesting to look at the paradox as potentially 2 statements which are potentially opposite one another or opposing one another or contradictory to one another yet both true. And in the case of the Dan Harrison Paradoxes, 2 traits or 2 behaviours that may seem to be an opposition or contradictory to one another but when they come together are actually synergistic.

So let’s have a look at that So if we are very high at Risking and out of balance because we’re very high at Risking and low in Analysing Pitfalls we could end up to be seen as Impulsive. Dashing ahead, doing stuff, we’re comfortable of the risk but nobody else is and they go whoah, David’s being very Impulsive. On the other hand, when I’m being very high in Analysing Pitfalls and low in Risking I could be seen as cautious – the one who’s always looking at things that can go wrong and actually, I could miss out on opportunities because I’m overly cautious. So the thing is to be able to balance both of these the willingness to take a risk the enjoyment of analysing pitfalls that comes together to what you call Mindful Courage. Because then you actually get the best in both worlds. You’re taking a calculated risk. And another thing to be aware of with this paradox  is how when we are in one of the other we can demonise the opposite traits. So if I’m very high on analysing pitfalls I can think of people who are willing to take a risk as completely impulsive all the time, however, When I get stressed, I’m thinking I may be missing out on something I can actually flip and become irrationally impulsive myself. And on the other side, people who are very high in risking can often demonise people who are very high on Analysing Pitfalls. Because they feel like they are willing to take a risk and all they hear from other people is “that won’t work, this won’t work, you need to watch out for this,  you need to watch out for that”, they are going like “You’re just not seeing it”. And that can actually cause a lot of stress within a team. And this can actually – if these people don’t listen, can end up in reckless behaviour.

So think about – Where you are with your team;  What’s the balance of traits that you have? With your willingness to take a risk and your willingness to listen to  and analyse pitfalls and where are you in your team? And where are your team with that? So that’s good food for thought, Insights for busy leaders and managers in just 150 seconds.


With best regards,

David Klaasen 

Talent 4 Performance help business leaders clarify complexity. We inspire people and drive continuous performance improvement, so they can convert thinking into action and results. 

©David Klaasen – 2014