Tension is one of those words that usually carries a negative connotation. If one is feeling tense one is not likely preparing to spend a day at the beach. Tension, however, has its place on the job and can actually be healthy. Not convinced? You will be after hearing Tim Arnold speak in a keynote at VenueConnect in Toronto on July 24 from 9:15-10:15 am, followed by a Executive Track workshop he will conduct from 10:45-11:30 am.
Arnold’s keynote, “The Power of Healthy Tension,” and subsequent workshop on servant leadership, are both guaranteed to send attendees back home with an overflowing toolkit to better engage with the day-to-day events that happen in any business and any industry.
Arnold points out that the mere concept of tension is acknowledged in a way never before in the workplace.
“I’m finding there is interest in the concept of tension now more than ever,” he said. “I speak about the benefits of leveraging healthy tension; things like embracing diverse perspectives, getting the best from each person on your team, and getting unstuck by challenging an either/or mindset. This is very different than the unhealthy tension that results from inappropriate behavior and a toxic work environment. Effective leaders know the difference.”
The world of public assembly venue management is similar to many other industries that Arnold has addressed, including The United Nations, Citibank, KPMG, Toyota, and Siemens, in that, well, tension and problems bubble to the surface every day.
“My guess is that your members have to solve problems each and every day,” Arnold said. “I also would be confident that they deal with many chronic issues that are in fact unsolvable problems. Things like cost vs. quality, embracing innovation vs. holding on to what works, or structure vs. flexibility. Having the ability to distinguish between a problem to solve and a tension to manage can move a leader (and a venue) to provide a significant competitive advantage. Going beyond this awareness and actually identifying a few key tensions each member experiences will allow them to move from surviving to thriving.”
Arnold believes that while the public assembly industry has some common tensions, there are others somewhat unique to the profession.
“As I learn more about the public assembly industry it seems that beyond facing some of the classic tensions that are unavoidable in all industries, you also have a few unique tensions to manage as well such as Grounded or Logical vs. Gut-Feeling and Visionary, Competing with Others vs. Collaborating with Others, Managing Cost vs. Quality of Experience, Focusing on the Short Team vs. Focusing on the Long Term, and Taking Risks on Trends vs. Banking on What Works.
“It seems to me that that these are make-it-or-break-it tensions for your industry to manage, and having the skill to manage them in a healthy way can have you stand out in highly competitive crowd.”
For more than two decades, Arnold has had the privilege of helping the aforementioned businesses. Beyond leadership and team development, he spent 10 years overseeing a 40-bed homeless shelter, and a social enterprise that helps people transition from the streets to gainful employment through the production, distribution, and sales of amazing jams and jellies.
He now wants to do his part to ensure that attendees to his presentation do not enter into their own jams in the workplace.
“Tapping into the Power of Healthy Tension will allow members to a) unite their team by providing the shared language needed to move from conflict to collaboration, where everyone is heard and understood, b) spark change and find out why it is hard for people to shift their thinking, and c) break through chronic issues and conflicting values to get unstuck,” he said.
Now that is healthy.