Re: Design for One-Day Retreat LO2837

Rachel Silber (
Fri, 15 Sep 1995 16:05:03 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO2817 --

In my experience, the purpose of these one-day "offsites" or "team
building meetings" or whatever, is to develop the shared vision, the
picture of "what we want to have". Usually, it is hoped that the shared
vision alone will be sufficient to generate the creative tension necessary
to bring on change. "Creative tension" here is specificially refering to
Robert Fritz's concept that he develops in _The_Path_Of_Least_Resistance_.

I know lots of LO readers are more familiar than I with Fritz's work, and
for me, creative tension is something that "I know when I see it" (and I
particularly know when I dissipate it) but I am having a hard time giving
a definition. It is the feeling you get when you look at the difference
between what is real and what you want, when you feel empowered to do
something about the gap, and it depends upon an honest assessment of both
reality and the future vision.

Even (especially?) working on my own, creative tension is
difficult to sustain over a period of time. We all have defense
mechanisms which are necessary to lower tension -- changing the
subject, failing to notice, complaining/explaining
rather than acting. Teams have all these defense mechanisms, plus more.

After the meeting, a week or a month away, the challenge is to
maintain the creative tension that the team worked to create at
the kickoff event. You could plan to have one of the outcomes of
the day be that the team has as a tool some exercise or symbol that
will help them remain in/regain the state of creative tension. Then
they could take that exercise into a regular weekly meeting
or whatever, to help maintain focus.

Rachel Silber