Leadership Move Two: Build Tension, Not Stress

A lean leader must provide the source of energy that will compel the organization toward action. Without this energy, no amount of skill or knowledge will lead to success. Many leaders push their organization but do not generate a corresponding sense of...


While some people believe it is difficult to develop a hatred for the current state, it is really not that hard. Take a group of people on a waste walk, and they will begin to see opportunities. Have employees focus on what leaves them frustrated at the end of the day, and they will see opportunities. Even the most financially successful companies are filled with people who are disgusted with the current condition. But, they believe that they have no control over it. This brings to light the third element of creating tension: presenting a clear path forward.

The Right Skills and Knowledge to Close the Gap

After they create clear pictures of the ideal and current states, leaders cannot passively hope that people are compelled to act. The leader must choose the path that will lead from here to there and create a vehicle to drive the change. This includes giving people the right skills and knowledge to close the gap and making some tough decisions about things like organizational structure.

Leaders do not need to give people a minute-by-minute script. But if they do not provide any direction, everyone will look at the chasm that needs to be crossed and at each other to see who is going to take action. Everyone might have his or her own idea about how to cross the chasm, but nobody will take a running leap if he or she does not believe that everyone else is following. The leader must pull people together and provide the means to cross it.

If you would like to contribute your insights or suggestions, please email them to me at Derrick_Wright@Baxter.Com.

Derrick Wright, CPP, is the Director, DEA Compliance, EHS & Security for Baxter Healthcare, Cherry Hill, N.J. With more than 20 years of progressively higher management experience in a highly regulated pharmaceutical manufacturing environment, he has built a converged program that focuses on top-of-mind business issues as well as technology interoperability to support improved business processes. Derrick is a member of the Security Executive Council and the Convergence Council of the Open Security Exchange (OSE).