By Jesse Lyn Stoner
Has your team created a shared vision? Before you start setting goals and determining actions, assess your current situation. If you are only guided by a vision, you are in danger of setting unrealistic goals that cannot be accomplished.
As a team, have an honest and open discussion about what supports achieving your vision and what impedes you — what’s working and what’s not. It can be helpful to collect some data for this discussion to ensure your assessment is accurate.
This step anchors your vision and clarifies the gap so you can determine the best strategies, goals, and action steps.
But be forewarned — this is not as much fun as creating the vision. When you hold the picture of what you want and also take a serious look at your current reality, tension is generated. In an effort to reduce the tension, we are tempted to let go of our vision, thinking, “It’s not what I really wanted after all” or “It’s not practical” or “It’s too hard.”
Holding on to your vision while being realistic about your current situation at the same time generates tension. Robert Fritz, in his book The Path of Least Resistance, calls this “creative tension” because the tension helps create the future you desire.
It is a law of nature that tension seeks resolution.
When you accept the tension as inevitable and are willing to live with it … and
when you continue to hold an honest picture of your current situation … and
when you keep your vision front and center …
current reality will begin to shift in favor of your vision.
Use Tension To Your Advantage Rather Than Expending Energy Avoiding It
Have you ever gone fishing? Consider the difference between the fish that got caught and “one that got away.” When hooked on a line, the fish that gets caught pulls against the tension of the line until it is worn out. Then it is easily reeled in. The smart fish swims toward the pole, keeping the tension loose until it finds a way to get off the hook.
The point is that it’s important to recognize your current reality but not be overcome by the tension. Use the tension to your advantage. Don’t let go of your vision.
When you are only focused on your vision, you see where you’re going, but you are not grounded.When you are only focused on current reality, you start looking down at your feet, instead of where you’re going, and your feet get stuck in the mud. When you hold a view of both your vision and your current reality, and when you accept the tension you experience as a result, you will be able to move forward with your feet solidly on the ground and with your sights on your vision.
Jesse Lyn Stoner is coauthor with Ken Blanchard of Full Steam Ahead: Unleash the Power of Vision, an international bestseller translated into 22 languages. A founding partner of the consulting firm Seapoint Center, her personal blog can be found at www.jessestoner.com. Follow her on Twitter @jesselynstoner.