If I used the phrase “creative tension,” would you recognize where I might be going with the discussion? I’ll come clean with you — the first time I heard it, I was drawing a mental picture of what exactly this action is, but honestly, I was guessing as to the answer. In a business setting, what is “creative tension?”
It’s not writer’s block. It’s not the anxious feeling you have when your innovation gene dries up and your boss has a deadline in 24 hours. It’s not two right-brain people squaring off over the color of the mural that will adorn the building’s atrium wall. None of the above.
Actually generating creative tension inside the workplace is considered a positive step towards achieving the corporate goals. The same traits that push success in the workplace, applied personally, work as well.
One of my favorite ways to stir up the “creative tension” and drive success is to apply a sense of urgency. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Stay focused on pushing through an issue to completion. When the hose in the yard is kinked, the plants die. As Larry the Cable Guy might say, “Git ‘r done.”
Secondly, be honest about poor performance. That makes the people in the room a little tense for sure. Introspection and honesty regarding the pursuit of excellence create a healthy tension. Look, the means may be different, but the end is a shared goal. Respectfully, call it like you see it.
Hold everybody accountable. Who is everybody? In the Credit Union, it is 165 staff members strong. Nobody gets a pass. Each of us is a working part of a greater whole. Don’t let the corporate disease of pointing fingers toward others as the problem gain a footing inside your shop. If you work here, you’re responsible. This is a much better slant to getting the ultimate job done.
I remember when President Kennedy visited NASA in Houston prior to our country’s first moon landing. He had just made his historic push to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade (1960s), and he was touring the site speaking with many of the employees. He approached a janitor sweeping floors and posed a question along the lines of “What do you do for NASA, my good man?” The man, without hesitation, looked back at President Kennedy and confirmed his accountability at the highest level. “Mr. President,” he said, “my job, sir, is to put a man on the moon.”
You think “creative tension” works? I do, too. Be urgent. Be honest. Be accountable. With those three traits in tow, you are ready to exceed expectations. At SLCCU, we get it.