Why paradox creates distinction

Organisations are crazy places, chock full of contradictions. People are called on to behave in paradoxical ways: to conform to established patterns and yet to invent new ways of doing things; to argue their corner and yet to go with the flow; to make things the best they can be and yet not to spend any money; to make omelettes and yet not to break any eggs.

We tend to see these paradoxes as problems, and we try to structure things in ways that eliminate them. We try to make perfect sense of the perfect nonsense that surrounds us. We are doomed to fail, I’m happy to say.

Paradox is a powerful and valuable thing. Just as the opposite charges in an electric motor create motion, organisations that embrace their contradictory nature have an energy that marks them out.

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