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Harnessing the power of opposites: 2017 Director's Program
Focus: Leveraging polarities
SPEAKER: Barry Johnson, founding partner, Polarity Partnerships
TIME: Sunday, Oct. 22, 8 am-5 pm
COST: $595
REQUIREMENTS: At least five years of experience at the director’s level
Must-knows of EMBA Program operation
SPEAKERS: Expert program leaders
TIME: Sunday, Oct. 22, 8 am-5 pm
COST: $495
PARTICIPANTS: Those members who are new to the industry

If you are at the director level in an EMBA Program with at least five years of experience at that level, you don’t want to miss the 2017 Director’s Program at the EMBAC Conference.

Instead of debating the benefits of either one way or the opposite way, learn how to maximize the best from directions that appear as opposites. The successful leveraging of polarities – pairs that seem like a paradox, such as stability and change, short term and long term, and mission and margin – helps bring forward the most promising solutions to reach the desired outcome.

Barry Johnson

But how can you take what are essentially diametrically opposed directions and walk away the best of both worlds—all without angst?

Set for Sunday, Oct. 22, the 2017 Director’s Program explores that question with an introduction to polarities, which often manifest themselves as conflicts, resistance to change, and polarization. Led by the Barry Johnson, founding partner of Polarity Partnerships, the daylong session also offers participants the opportunity to work with each other in small groups and apply the process.


The morning session defines polarities with examples, explores the value of leveraging polarities, and looks at leadership and organizational polarities. It also will include the story of a Fortune 100 company that applied polarity thinking and present the polarity process. At the end of the morning, participants will work in pairs to discuss issues of importance and start the polarity process.

In the afternoon session, participants will select their top polarity pairs and form small groups based on one of those pairs. The small groups will apply the steps in the process and experience the possibilities of using the polarity assessment for their own program’s advantage.

The session also will include a short presentation that uses the polarity lens in looking at national and international issues and discussions about the potential benefits of the process for EMBA students and their organizations.


Before the program, participants will complete a five-minute web based assessment of one of the most popular polarities for business schools: centralized and decentralized. Participants will learn the results during the afternoon of the program. At the end of the program, participants will leave with steps for addressing an issue of importance, learn more about how the web-based assessment can help EMBA programs and students, and gain an understanding of polarities and the polarity approach to continuity and transformation. Groups also will work on action plans to leverage a common organizational polarity.

Expert guide

Barry Johnson, Ph.D., founding partner, chair, and Chief Thought Leader of Polarity Partnerships, will lead the 2017 Director’s Program. Johnson created the first Polarity Map® and set of principles in 1975. Since then, hundreds of organizations worldwide, including Cargill, General Motors, and the U.S. Department of Defense, have applied polarity thinking. He wrote the seminal book Polarity Management®: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems, as well as Polarities in Congregations, Eight Keys to Thriving Faith Communities. His upcoming book AND, How to Leverage Polarity/Paradox/Dilemma, will be released this year.

He received his Ph.D. in organization development from International College, and training in organization and system development from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. He also has devoted much time to community activism.


You must register for the Director’s Program when you register for the EMBAC Conference. Only members with five years of director-level experience are eligible to attend the Director’s Program.


To learn more about the day’s activities, please check out the 2017 Director’s Program agenda below


EMBA Toolkit: Practical Lessons

Are you new to Executive MBA Programs? Don’t miss the opportunity to learn the must-knows of the Executive MBA industry, including admissions, marketing, budgeting, student expectations, and more, at the Executive MBA Toolkit session of the Executive MBA Conference.

The one-day session will take place Sunday, Oct. 22, a day before conference sessions begin. Presented by a veteran team of Executive MBA members, the Executive MBA Toolkit makes it easy for you to meet colleagues. For a closer look at the day, review the agenda below. Please note: Agenda may be subject to change.

Because Executive MBA Toolkit seats fill quickly, it can pay to register early. When you register for the conference, just remember to check the Executive MBA Toolkit section on the registration form.