Dealing With “A Tension To Manage”

Have you heard the phrase “a tension to manage”?

I ran across it listening to an Andy Stanley podcast on organizational dynamics.

Here’s the concept: there is nothing that is perfect. Despite our best efforts, there are always issues to work on. Some disappear with effort. Others are more difficult to resolve.

Those that are difficult to resolve may be seasonal issues. They may be short term. They may be situations which can’t get better over time.

Let me give you a couple examples:

Your facility may be bursting at the seams. You could use more space, but there’s no adjacent facility available. You have to adapt to the limitation: “it’s a tension to manage.”

You have a key customer who shuts down for 30 days. It will dent your planned sales. But, they will come back. It causes some pressure until it returns. That’s a “tension to manage.”

Here’s the point of naming the “tension”.

When you see it as a tension, you can look at the challenge realistically. You don’t have to wring your hands. You don’t have to lose sleep. You don’t have to give up.

Calling it a tension puts the issue in context.

It helps you to see the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.

It helps you to focus on the issues at hand and manage them a day at the time.

Do we prefer the tension go away? You bet.

But, one of the ways to minimize the impact of the tension is to name it. We are able to team up and manage tensions. We can work together and control them.


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