Vision is SO important to individuals as well as teams and organizations! A beautiful nugget that so aptly describes our relationship with vision was described in Peter Senge’s book “The Fifth Discipline” (pp. 135-142):

The gap that is between our current reality and our vision is called “creative tension.” This gap is a source of creative energy and, if you can imagine it, is like a huge rubberband that is stretched between the two points. The bigger the vision, the more the rubberband is stretched and the greater the creative tension.

Creative tensions seeks resolution or release in two ways: 1. our current reality is pulled towards the vision and brings us closer to fulfillment, and 2. we bring our vision closer to our current reality by making it more “realistic.”

It is important to not confuse emotional tension with creative tension. If I try to relieve the emotional tension by getting rid of the creative tension, I lower the vision.

According to Senge, goals erode in organizations many times because of low tolerance for emotional tension. “Truly creative people use the gap between vision and current reality to generate energy for change.”

Personally, I’m really challenged with this concept. I really want to see and experience the reality of creative tension generating energy for change.

Do you have a comment, question, or example of where you have seen this concept at work? Please share.