Paradoxical Thinking: How to Profit from Your Contradictions

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Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1997 - Business & Economics - 219 pages
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Unlikely as it may seem, sprinters who relax run faster. In fact, simultaneously feeling both aggressive and relaxed is essential to their peak performance. Similar, seemingly contradictory patterns abound: Bill Gates's success is built on both his vision and his practicality; former New York governor Mario Cuomo is both passionate and intellectual, action-oriented and reflective.

After more than fifteen years of studying thousands of detailed examples of people performing at their best, Fletcher and Olwyler have found that individuals are always paradoxical when performing optimally and that each person has a particular combination of contradictory and paradoxical qualities that work together to produce that person's best work.

In Paradoxical Thinking they provide a 5-step process to help you identify your own core personal contradictions, and harness them to achieve outstanding results at work and in your personal life.

You can probably recall a difficult situation in which you performed surprisingly well-and being mystified after the fact as to exactly how you achieved such a high level of performance. Paradoxical Thinking takes the mystery and unpredictability out of performing at your peak by providing an easy-to-learn method of understanding and maximizing your personal success.

Based on years of real-world road testing with individuals and corporate leaders, the authors' five-step "Paradoxical Thinking" method helps you consciously bring together the paradoxical sides of yourself to achieve outstanding results individually, on teams, and in organizations. Using an important problem or goal you are currently facing, Paradoxical Thinking will help you:
o Identify your own core personal paradox
o Redefine your problem or goal so that it can be approached paradoxically
o Monitor how well you are utilizing your personal paradox
o Take positive action steps to overcome roadblocks and banish cycles of ineffectiveness of your paradoxical qualities and tools for using-instead of fighting-them, you can realize your potential, maximize your inherent strengths, and consistently achieve the results you seek in every aspect of your personal and professional life.
 

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Contents

Effective Paradoxes
5
Finding Your Personal Paradox
22
Perception Shifting
35
Defining Your Problem Situation and Setting Your Goal
60
Rating Yourself on Fletchers Pendulum
81
Choosing Action Steps to Improve Your SelfRatings
102
Applying Paradoxical Thinking
115
Avoiding the Loss of a Major Sale The Case of Chris the Overconfident Salesman
118
Intuiting the Pendulum of Someone Else to Work Better with Them The Case of Mike and Susan
148
Using Paradoxical Thinking to Improve Team and Organizational Performance
154
Answers and Benefits
189
Some Questions and Answers
191
How to Profit from Your Contradictions
198
Notes
201
Annotated Bibliography
202
Appendix
207

Resolving the Problem of a Stalled Employee in an Unexpected Way The Case of Fred and Brad
124
Selling a House in a Down Market Te Case of Martin the Transferred Executive
133
Reestablishing Parental Communication with a Teenage Daughter The Story of Anna and Casey
139
Index
211
About the Authors
217
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Jerry L. Fletcher is the founder and president of High Performance Dynamics, a management development and consulting company with major corporate clients, including DEC, G.D. Searle, the Monsanto Chemical Group, IBM, Procter and Gamble, Bull H/N, Control Data, and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. He is the author of Patterns of High Performance and Paradoxical Thinking.


Kelle Olwyler is founder of Kel Bergan Consulting, a company that focuses on one-on-one executive coaching, team consulting, and innovative thinking processes. Formerly vice president of High Performance Dynamics, she was responsible for training and managing consultants and trainers in high performance technologies and consulting processes in the United States, France, England, and Latin America. She is coauthor of Paradoxical Thinking.

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