Tag Archive: Paradox technology

  1. What do you do with your time?


    I often get asked to run time management courses.  Managing time should be easy – write a list of things to do and get on and do them.  So what gets in the way?

    Take a look at this Paradox graph –

    image of the overview page of a Paradox Harrison Assessment report for the avatar Andrew Jones showing the 12 Paradox graphs

    Harrison Assessment Paradox report


    The Harrison Assessment Paradox report explores 12 paradoxical pairs of behaviours, or behaviours which can appear as seemingly opposite. Each of the Paradox graphs has 4 quadrants which demonstrate the potential effects of the balance between the two behaviours.

    Every individual will have their own unique set of Paradox patterns; this is a sample report, against an avatar named Andrew Jones. His patterns are indicated by the red dots with the shading around, and the hurricanes, which demonstrate behaviour under stress.

    Look at the 12 graphs in the report and the 4 quadrants of each graph…

    Ask yourself what do people in each quadrant spend their time doing?

    Here are just a few examples –

    Insightful Curiosity

    (top left)

    High Open Reflective, low Certain – people spend their time going round the loop of asking for more opinions/ideas before forming an opinion.  This can appear fluffy and indecisive.  The opposite, however, may have an equally detrimental effect – people who are sure of their ideas and don’t engage with other viewpoints often spend time mopping up the mess.

    Instinctive Logic

    (top middle)

    High Analytics low Intuitive – someone with this pattern may spend inordinate amounts of time collecting data even when a similar task has been completed before.

    Opportunity Management

    (top right)

    High Analyses Pitfalls low Risking – people get bogged down with all the things that could go wrong, stay in their comfort zone and may spend their time using old methodologies rather than risk a new one.  The opposite ie, high Risking low Analyses Pitfalls – can result in more time spent unpicking when things go wrong.


    (2nd row left)

    High Self-Acceptance low Self Improvement – these people can spend time defending and justifying their  own point of view from those who query it.  The opposite Low Self-Acceptance high Self improvement – these people can spend time beating themselves up for all the things that went wrong/could have gone better and are unlikely to recognize their achievements.

    Combination patterns

    If you look at each of these combinations of paradoxical traits in turn its not difficult to see how people spend their time.  Individual Paradoxes can also interrelate between each other to create further patterns of behaviour.

    One pattern which is particularly significant is a combination of high Warmth and Empathy (Coaching Mindset paradox) and high Helpful (Equity Mindset paradox). These people spend so much time looking after others, doing their jobs for them etc they often put their own jobs second.  They also invariably end up with no time to consider strategic planning in the Opportunity Management paradox (top right).


    If you would like to know more about the Harrison Paradox approach and how patterns can help or hinder success do get in touch. pat@quadrant1.com

    Pat Hutchinson, Quadrant 1 International Ltd

  2. All Procedure should increase choice – the ultimate paradox!


    Life is a paradox! Nothing is ever absolute as Yin Yang tells us. Flexibility is the name of the game and those who demonstrate it are generally more able to succeed in the world. Living by rules alone creates barriers and structures and limited thinking. Rules are often maintained long after they are obsolete. Living with constant choice, on the other hand, can create chaos for those involved not knowing what is likely to happen next and often paralysed into inaction because of it.

    In an ideal world ‘All Procedure Should Increase Choice’. In other words the rules are there to create a platform of understanding from which to launch new, creative ideas. Take the rules of the road for example – without them chaos would reign and travelling from A to B or even C, D or E would become chaotic and traumatic.

    "Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist" - Pablo PicassoAre your rules helping or hindering?

    So next time you have a minute take a note of the rules (written and unwritten) that you abide by within your working environment. Are they helping or hindering creativity and progress. Equally are there some areas where rules might give people the confidence to break out of their comfort zones and make progress? Food for thought. Enjoy!

    If you would like to know more about paradoxical success please get in touch with us

    07768 92224 or  pat@quadrant1.com



    Lack of balance in our opinions can make it difficult to make decisions or pull a consistent and successful strategy together. It’s crucial that we gather and consider the thoughts, experience and opinions of others to supplement and contribute to our own knowledge and experience.
    If we are too uncertain and inconclusive, we will spend our time going round in circles – we need to be able to put a stake in the ground to progress actions and plans. However, too much certainty in our own opinions can move into dogmatism which can stifle contribution, collaboration and innovation.

    The paradox of OPINIONS – what it can look like when the balance between CERTAIN and OPEN/ REFLECTIVE is off-kilter, and what it can look like when balance is achieved.

    Leaders need to be able to balance these two seemingly opposite traits – one dynamic and one gentle – to achieve optimal behavioural performance and balanced versatility.

    Harrison Paradox Technology is embraced by organizations world-wide as the best means to determine leadership capability and job performance by providing a reliable map of the paradoxical balances that make or break leaders.

    Find out more or contact us at pat@quadrant1.com or on 07768 922244




    As a leader, how do you balance asserting your own needs and wants with helping your team achieve their objectives?

    The paradox of POWER – what it can look like when the balance between ASSERTIVENESS and HELPFULNESS is off-kilter, and what it can look like when balance is achieved.

    Leaders need to be able to balance these two seemingly opposite traits – one dynamic and one gentle – to achieve optimal behavioural performance and balanced versatility.

    Harrison Paradox Technology is embraced by organizations world-wide as the best means to determine leadership capability and job performance by providing a reliable map of the paradoxical balances that make or break leaders.

    Find out more or contact us at pat@quadrant1.com or on 07768 922244

  5. What does effective communication look like?


    Communication is one of the most important skills a successful leader can develop. Effective communication is the tool to inspire, align a team around common goals, build trust and negotiate delicate situations.  How our communication is received will depend on the perception and viewpoint of the person receiving it and is open to interpretation.  The intention and the interpretation can often be miles apart and it is important to remember that it is the interpretation not the intention that triggers action.  If we want that action to be positive and progressive, we must take the utmost care with our communication.

    Ineffective communication can leave teams feeling out of the loop, lacking in confidence and motivation, or even result in a complete breakdown in trust between leader and employee/team. This in turn has a huge impact on productivity and can result in absenteeism, raised levels of sickness and staff churn.  If you happen to work for a visionary company who recognize the importance of effective communication you will have been on the receiving end as well as seen the benefits of training in such skills. A good place to start is by considering the foundations of effective communication.

    The Paradox of Respectful Candour – or Communication

    Harrison Assessments Paradox Theory suggests the idea that every behavioural trait can be a strength or a derailer depending on the circumstances.  Unfortunately, behavioural traits are often unconscious behaviours or habits and we can often fail to notice the consequences of ineffective behaviour.  Balancing seemingly opposite (paradoxical) traits can give us the maximum flexibility and, therefore, effectiveness within each paradox.

    The two paradoxical traits of the Respectful Candour paradox are FRANK and DIPLOMATIC and this is just one of 12 sets of paradoxical traits that give us an overview of our approach to work.

    • FRANK: the tendency to be straightforward, direct, to the point and forthright
    • DIPLOMATIC: the tendency to state things in a tactful manner

    Communication imbalances can cause limitations in communication style

    Flexibility is the name of the game and a high score in both diplomacy and frankness will give us such flexibility. So let’s take a look at the imbalances and the consequences of each.


    What this can look like: The manager who disappears down the corridor at the first hint of a confrontation or spends the day hiding behind a closed office door. Often prefers to communicate by email rather than in person or even on the phone.

    A leader who avoids communication may be unable to communicate with a team effectively on a day to day basis, manage conflicts or to provide clear strategic direction, often leaving the team feeling ‘rudderless’. The team may feel this manager is too busy, or doesn’t care about their input.


    What this can look like: The manager who never gets to the point because they’re worried about hurting someone’s feelings or allows bad behaviour from team members to go unchecked for risk of upsetting them. Avoids being the bearer of bad news and passes the buck onto others: “Head Office said we need to work extra hours to make this deadline”.

    A leader who is evasive tends to be tactful without being sufficiently direct. This can leave the team feeling they are not being given the whole story, or even not being told the truth which isn’t necessarily the case.  There may be gaps in the communication which could be filled with inappropriate actions.


    What this can look like: The manager who steps on others without even realising it. Often prides themself on being ‘honest’, thinks there is nothing wrong with their own style, and does not know when they hurt others’ feelings. Has a tendency to say the wrong thing at wrong time.

    A leader who is blunt may tend to be frank or direct and often use the phrase ‘telling it as it is’ without sufficient tact, often making themself appear rude. Those around may hold back from sharing ideas for fear of being shot down.

    Any and all of the above can lead to problems with performance, disengagement and a poor culture.

    Of course, there will be instances where these extremes are useful – frankness is probably preferable if the building is on fire.  Equally two people with the same frank trait will demonstrate excellent rapport – I have seen whole organizational cultures built on one style of communication as people who feel uncomfortable leave the organization. The question here is ‘what is the organization missing in terms of creativity and ideas?’

    Likewise there will be situations where extreme diplomacy and tact are required –negotiation of any sort or delivering unpleasant news for example.

    Balance brings versatility

    Effective communication encourages innovation, helps with the early identification of problems, creates individual and team engagement with business goals and objectives and creates a culture of openness and trust in the team and the wider organisation. Operating within the fourth pattern encourages and allows for greater versatility for the needs of the situation.


    What this can look like: The manager who maintains a good balance of being to the point while being sensitive to the way in which they communicate with their audience.

    A leader who displays forthright diplomacy tends to be both forthright and diplomatic at the same time, communicating clearly and respectfully with the team to create an open and engaged team culture.

    As previously stated, flexibility is the name of the game – being able to switch styles according to the person on the receiving end and the requirements of the situation.  The first step in developing such versatility is awareness – The Harrison Assessment Paradox report will give you this and the opportunity to practice exercises to develop potentially deficient traits.


    5 tips to help improve communication

    • Keep communicating! Information, thoughts, feedback, ideas should be communicated frequently – ‘nature abhors a vacuum’… don’t leave a gap which can be filled with inaccurate information from other sources. Keep communication open and transparent, remove any barriers and take the time to talk and listen to people.
    • Keep it simple and direct – Make sure communications are clear without hiding behind extraneous information. Take into account how your message will be received by others. Use that diplomacy… Direct does not mean blunt!
    • Listen and encourage contributions – Encourage ideas and solutions from others. Do 80% of the listening and 20% of the talking. Showing interest and respecting colleagues will help make the emotional connection that’s so important for effective leadership.
    • Show empathy and create trust – Walk in the other person’s shoes, see things from other perspectives to avoid being judgmental and biased. Employees want to feel heard and valued.
    • Walk the talk – Integrity is key and judgement is invariably based upon behaviour. Credibility and engagement will emanate from consistent communication and behaviour.


    Paradoxical Leadership Technology

    You can find out more about balancing Paradoxical traits, like FRANK and DIPLOMATIChere,  or you can get in touch at pat@quadrant1.com or on 07768 922244