• Dr. Shawn Wolf | Outside-Force BDF

Bring on the Tension!


Leaders actively create tension for and with their team by consistently holding before them a new/better future. Good leaders accomplish this by creating and sharing a compelling vision. It’s not enough to simply share the vision of the organization with the team; the leader also creates the vision of a change initiative that paves the way towards the overall vision.

“People have to become comfortable in discomfort.”

For many of a leader’s followers their own internal IOS (Internal Operating System), or mental models desire to set in stone how things are done now and they find comfort in sustaining the current state. Yet, all organizations must continue to improve to meet the needs of their customers and stay ahead of competition. To improve something calls for some kind of change, which means people have to figure out how to be comfortable in discomfort, or creative tension. To effectively initiate and sustain a change effort, great leaders skillfully drive change by tapping into this very concept of creative tension.

So what is this thing called creative tension? It’s the tension created by solidly understanding the current state (current reality) and boldly communicating the compelling future. More than that, it’s the full awareness of the critical space between the two points that represents the somewhat unknown journey all must be willing to experience to reach the future state. The journey will hold successes, failures, learning, applying, and sustaining the desired changes long enough so new habits and paradigms are shaped.

Be bold…….Create Tension!

Learning, growing, developing, and achieving are products of creative tension. Inspiring others to risk leaving their comfort zone and step into creative tension takes work and commitment, and a leader that believes in the change and has the skill to passionately champion the process and share how the changes lead to a better organization. When the journey and destination can come alive in the minds of followers, it’s a shorter journey to capture their hearts. To change one person’s IOS can be difficult; changing a team’s IOS takes bold leadership! Be bold… Create Tension!

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