Harnessing Your Tension

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you cope with stressful situations. Reading time: 2:47

         Your stock price is down again. Your business is falling off. Morale is even lower.

        The Leader opens his staff meeting with what everyone expected: no bonuses this year. But the Leader says he had a gift for each of them, a gift that would help them get through this challenging business climate.

         trampolineThe Leader then passes out monogrammed set of handkerchiefs to each of his eight direct reports.

       “No I’m not anticipating that you are going shed a tear  or two over  our tough times,” smiled the Leader.

       Then he takes one of his handkerchiefs out of the box, unfolds it and spreads it flat on the conference room table.

      “I think of this handkerchief as a kind of trampoline that could be very helpful in turning around our business,” the Leader opines.

         Then the Leader instructs three other executives to each take an edge of the handkerchief. The four executives start tugging the handkerchief in four different directions.

        “The more tension we have around here, the stronger this trampoline,” the Leader added. “Now let’s harness all that tension and bounce back higher than ever before.”

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

The Leader and his team then worked through a highly productive strategy session, looking at new opportunities and rethinking old ideas.

        Reframing reality to better cope with stress.

      That’s the critical skill the Leader taught his executive team: He had to FIRST set the tone for a meaningful meeting. The Leader knew he had to first cut through the TENSION in that meeting before he could help his team focus on the opportunity rather than on the stark reality.

       And throughout the meeting, the Leader casually planted a few other seeds on the value of TENSION.

        For example: In Colonial days beds were suspended by ropes tied to the bed frame. In order to “sleep tight” a person would use a tool to tighten the ropes, strengthen the tension and enhance the comfort of the mattress.

       And without tension in your 639 muscles, your body would atrophy. With tension, the muscles in the human body pull on the bones during exercise and stimulate their growth.

     Tension also sparks achievement as Harry Emerson Fosdick noted in his book Living Under Tension:

No horse gets anywhere
until he is harnessed.

No steam or gas engine ever drives
anything until it is confined.

No Niagara is ever turned into
light and power until it is tunneled.

No life ever grows great until
it is focused, dedicated and disciplined.”

     And no leader can be successful without tension.

Today’s ImproveMINT

Pay attention to tension to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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