Leveraging Polarities in Turbulence: Transforming Vicious Cycles Into
Virtuous Cycles

Register Online

When: Thursday, October 12| 09:00 - 17:00 | FULL DAY
Where: Studio 314 - SQUARE
Ticket Price: ILA members - $113 | non-members - $151
Center for Creative LeadershipGeneva Centre for Security PolicyThank you to the Geneva Centre for Security Policy - Center for Creative Leadership for being a Platinum Sponsor & sponsoring this event!


Increasing complexity and turbulence requires enhancing leadership capacity. This turbulence often shows up in the form of polarized tensions: rising nationalism with anti-immigration verses global interdependence with pro-immigration; chronic issues within poverty, racism, and sexism; law enforcement in tension with community engagement; teams that are virtual and global while needing to be local and face to face.

For the above tensions, problem solving, alone, is not enough. What is also needed is the ability to leverage underlying polarities (dilemmas, paradoxes). The question is not, "How do we choose EITHER nationalism OR global interdependence?" The question is, "How do we get the best of BOTH nationalism AND global interdependence to benefit BOTH our country AND our global community?" Other polarity questions include: "How do we promote BOTH abundance for some AND basics for all?" "How do we BOTH enforce the law AND engage the community?"

When we see any of the above tensions as a choice in which we must choose EITHER one OR the other, we increase the turbulence. Each is a false choice seen by each side as an obvious choice. We will be presenting five applications of this powerful paradigm to difficult, intractable situations around the world.

For more information, download the long description.

  Who Should Attend?

Anyone interested in being more effective in addressing polarization in complex turbulent settings.

What Will Attendees Gain?

Attendees will:

  • Understand the value and limits of "OR Thinking" and basic problem solving strategies when leading in complex and turbulent situations.
  • Understand the value of supplementing "OR Thinking" with "AND Thinking."
  • Understand how Polarity Thinking can be applied at all levels of a system: internationally, nationally, in communities, with teams, and, in individual leadership.
  • Understand how Polarity Thinking can be combined with other disciplines including Real Time Strategic Change and Vertical Development.

Track: Public Leadership

Workshop Leaders & Presenters

Michael A. Buchmann Lindsay Burr Singla Leslie DePol Emily Hoole
Michael A. Buchmann
International Leadership Development Programme
Lindsay Burr Singla
The Yarbrough Group
Leslie DePol
Polarity Partnerships
Emily Hoole
Center for Creative Leadership
Barry Johnson Beena Sharma Peter Whitt
Barry Johnson
Polarity Partnerships
Beena Sharma
Center for Leadership Maturity
Peter Whitt
Enlightenment Consultant Group


Michael A. Buchmann is a German national with an international mind, fostering intercultural and international leadership competencies and strategic synergies. Clients praise his great experience and inspiring enthusiasm. Michael lead the international leadership development programme (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit GTZ, in ca. 135 countries, 1990-1994), an Integrated Regional Development Programme (Sri Lanka, 1987 – 1990, assessed as the best of all provinces), the worldwide introduction of GTZ's project management system (1982 -1986; the managing director: "the most successful innovation in our history") and an advisory team to the National Economic and Social Development Board, Prime Minister's Office, in Bangkok, Thailand (1970s).



Peter Whitt is the Principal of Enlightenment Consultant Group, LLC (ECG). He has advanced training and certifications in organizational interventions and coaching through the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. He holds a mastery certification in Polarity Thinking through Polarity Partnerships. Peter has supported leaders that range from community members to executive directors. Peter held career leadership positions in healthcare and higher education addressing health disparities, research and health equity. He has lectured at Cleveland State University, Diversity Management Program, the School of Social Work and the College of Allied Sciences. Peter holds the title Maha Guru (Senior Teacher) in KunTao and Silat Martial Arts.



Lindsay Burr Singla presents truth while creating a safe space to assist clients in discerning action steps that fit their needs, budgets and mission. Her focus has been on helping organizations and people set and achieve goals that are tied to meaningful work. Her specialty is on the millennial perspectives on the multi-generational workplace. Lindsay has also developed and implemented trainings for women's leadership in corporate, non-profit and military settings. Lindsay received her BS in Political Science from Wellesley College and a MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.



Robert "Jake" Jacobs has been curious about why do some organizations work and others don't since his first real job on the assembly line of an ice cream novelty manufacturing plant. His curiosity launched him on a path of discoveries as a pioneer in the field of large group interventions.

Jake invented Real Time Strategic Change (RTSC) as an answer to how to create radically accelerated and improvements in complex and messy situations. He has successfully implemented his model at some of the largest corporations in the world, including American Express, Corning, Ford, The Home Depot, Marriott, Mobil, and TJ Maxx.



Emily Hoole is the Group Director of Global Research and Evaluation at the Center for Creative Leadership. Her areas of research focus include virtual teams, polarities, women's leadership and leadership development ROI. She combines evaluating thinking with organizational learning in her work with clients to improve the effectiveness of organizational interventions. Emily's work at CCL with clients, faculty and researchers spans many industries and regions. Her industry experience includes work in high tech, energy, automotive, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, finance, retail, government, food and beverage, education, nonprofit, and bio tech with clients located in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.



Leslie DePol is Co-Founder of Polarity Partnerships, an organization committed to helping leaders, teams, organizations, communities and nations to see, map, assess, learn and leverage the seemingly intractable tensions that show up in every change effort. She has 20+ years experience partnering with others in the development and execution of innovative strategies to engage and align people, processes, structures, and systems with short-term realities and long-term vision.



Beena Sharma is Founding President of the Center for Leadership Maturity (CLM) with Co-Founder Dr. Susanne Cook-Greuter. Having worked deeply with Polarities since 1997, Beena's unique contribution is evolving the idea and practice of Polarity Wisdom as a high leverage approach to enable Vertical Development in leaders. Beena carries significant experience in applying Vertical Development theory and Polarity Wisdom in delivering complex change efforts. Beena is a certified assessor of the MAP (Maturity Assessment for Professionals), the most widely researched Vertical Development measure in the field. Beena is a Certifying Master Coach in Leadership Maturity Coaching and is a Certified Holacracy Practitioner.



In 1975, Barry Johnson created the first Polarity Map® and set of principles. Since then he has been learning, with clients around the world, how to leverage polarities, also known as paradoxes, dilemmas, or tensions. The Mission is to enhance our quality of life on the planet by supplementing "OR Thinking" with "AND Thinking."

In 1992, he wrote Polarity Management®: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems (HRD Press). His new book is coming out this year: AND, How to Leverage Polarity/Paradox/Dilemma.

He is an avid outdoorsman and intrepid traveler. Barry and his wife, Dana, have 5 children and 11 grandchildren.