Takeaway – Understanding dynamic tension opens a doorway to possibilities. We use dynamic tension to gain control and achieve our goals.
Driving change in our personal life and our business life is based on how well we use dynamic tension.
We experience stress when we feel we have no or little control of a situation. We use dynamic tension to gain control and reduce stress. Dynamic tension is created anytime we set a goal and create a plan to achieve it. We bridge the gap between where we are now and where we need to be.
Imagine you are holding a large rubber band. You begin to stretch the rubber band between your two hands. One hand represents your current condition; the other hand represents your desired state. The rubber band represents the gap between the current and ideal state. This is dynamic tension, which you control.
We have only two ways we can release tension; We can bring in the goal (reduce it) or we can improve our current condition. Moving us closer to the goal.
What you need to know:
- A clearly defined goal. The desired condition.
- An accurate understanding of the current situation.
- A plan to take you from the present condition to the desired condition.
A clearly defined goal
A ship never leaves port without a set destination. Ask any ship captain about to depart, what his next port of destination is and he will be able to tell you 100% of the time. When I visit businesses, I often ask owners, managers, and employees, “What is your company’s current goal? I rarely get a clear answer and almost never the same answer from employees.
Philosophers, for centuries state we are teleological beings. This means we need a sense of purpose. We need goals we are striving towards to be fulfilled. Our employees need to know what the company’s chief goals are. We want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Make sure your employees know the port they are heading towards.
Without clear set business goals, employees have less reason to engage and tap into their resourcefulness. We feel valued as we contribute to achieving goals and our contributions are recognized. We want to be part of a team. To know we matter in driving success.
An accurate understanding of the current condition
We need an honest estimation of our current situation versus our desired state. This is leverage for motivation to change. Our current business condition can be measured on many levels such as:
- Traffic (to a website or actual building)
- Sales volume
- Production volume
- Customer complaints
- Market share
- Time (our most precious commodity)
- Equipment utilization
These are often referred to as “key performance indicators” or KPIs. When we have a clear understanding of what we need to measure to drive improvement, it is like automating positive reinforcement. Employees and managers get to see how their effort affects outcome. When our effort drives key performance indicators towards the positive, it excites us. Smart managers still recognize the need to provide recognition and celebrate successes. But, recognition can become secondary to seeing the numbers improve.
This is one reason why real-time data sharing is so useful. It quickly ties effort to outcome.
A plan to take you from the current condition to the desired condition
For any plan to be effective in motivating action it must possess two qualities: Benefits and Expectancy. We need to understand how achieving the goal will help the company and how we will share in the benefits. We all want to succeed at what we do and be a part of something great. Clear goals and what the desired condition will provide is vital for engaging effort.
Expectancy means we must believe we can achieve the set goal. We must have faith in the plan. If we set our key performance indicators well, we can see our effort positively impact performance. We watch as numbers improve. Like on a sports scoreboard, we need to make data available and visible that reflects progress. This creates the sense of urgency required to drive us forward.
In business and our personal life, good things happen by purpose. If we want control of our finances, we need to budget and plan savings. If we want control of our health, we need to make time for exercise, rest and use good nutrition. The best way to achieve a bright future for our business is to create one by setting clear goals and using dynamic tension.
Are you creating dynamic tension by having clear goals and understanding the current condition vs. the desired future state? Does your team feel a sense of urgency for achieving company goals? If we are not employing dynamic tension to achieve recognized goals, we are missing opportunities and may even be increasing our levels of stress.
No dynamic tension is like sailing without a port of destination; no goal, no sense of urgency and no purpose. Where is your business heading?