Tag Archives: creativity

Tug and Not War Part 3 – Positive Tension on a Team

This is part 3 in the “Tug and Not War – Tension on a Team” series. See Part 1 and Part 2.

tug-of-war3In Part 1, we looked at four words associated with tension. They are: conflict, stress, strain, or pressure.  In Part 2 we discussed the word tension and how it can be defined as, “the act of stretching or straining.”  Both are action words and both create a pull in different directions; therefore, we get “tension”.  Note there is a positive side, “stretching”, and a negative side, “straining”.

Negative tension is a strain on a team, but positive tension will stretch a team.  The object is to rid a team of negative tension and foster an environment for positive tension.  How is that done?  The leader must immediately deal with the negative and never allow it to grow.  I call this process the Barney Fife model, “Nip it in the bud.”

Let me share 5 ways to develop positive tension on your team:

  1. Plan proper balance – I believe it is critical to have a diverse team as I have mentioned in Post 2.  Through Personality Assessment tools and personal coaching you can assemble a team that complements each other.  They do their part well, but are cross-trained to help their fellow team member when needed. The balance keeps the boat from turning over.
  2. Promote creativity – Each team member should be qualified and passionate about their area or they shouldn’t be on the team.  If that is the case, allow them to share their passions and goals.  When positive tension is taking place, the entire team will take their ideas and grow them together.
  3. Demand accountability – Once the team is in place and the road toward success has been defined, get ready, negative tension will surface.  It’s not a question of “if”, but of “when” and “how”.  The leader of the team MUST set up a plan of accountability.  A checks and balance system keeps things from going down a wrong road too far.  Don’t be shy as the leader to deal with something quickly and severely.  It may hurt for a moment, but will feel much better in the long run.  It will also set the boundaries for the team.
  4. Allow for personal growth – Every organization should have systems in place that allows everyone to know the rules, objectives, and what a win looks like.  When they are in place the leader begins to lead his leaders.  In turn each leader begins to train a third layer of leadership.  Give each team member opportunity to grow as an individual and the team will grow.
  5. Focus on a goal – When people get their eyes off of a common goal they will soon define their own individual goal and go in separate directions.  Work hard to achieve a team goal then celebrate when it is achieved.  When a goal is defined everyone will walk in the same direction. That way when the destination is reached, the entire team will be there.  You do not want to leave people behind.

Negative tension will kill you, but positive tension will energize you.

Do you have comments about positive tension?

To read more material by Dr. Agan, go to www.rodneyagan.com

Article by Rodney Agan


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Is Your Church Media Stuck?

Last week we discussed what I believe is one of the biggest blunders we can make: taking the exciting message of the Gospel and making it drab and unappealing through lazy media design work. I’m certainly not advocating that we change the Gospel message, but I do believe many churches could stand to update their methods in how they share it.

If we’re going to do all things well, to God’s glory, that includes the media design in our churches.

So how can we do that?  Last time [The Big Blunder of Bad Design], I gave you two simple ideas that made a big difference for me when I finally got serious about taking our church’s media to the next level. Allow me to give you two more.

Always look for inspiration

One of the best tips I ever got from an experienced graphic designer was, “You never know when inspiration will strike! Be ready for it.” I realized he was absolutely right. Over and over, through the years, I had seen interesting ideas and designs and done nothing more than think, “Wow, that’s interesting,” and go about my business. But if something catches your attention and makes you think, realize that it might just do that for someone else if you apply that same idea or inspiration to your media design.
So what should you do when you come across an interesting logo, flyer, or advertisement? Capture that image or design and save it for later! Here’s some easy ways to do it:
Clip to Evernote
No program is easier to use when it comes to saving ideas and doing long-term planning than Evernote. The best part? It’s free. Get it here.
Once you’ve downloaded Evernote, you can save ideas, images, webpages or just about anything else you can think of, and sync them across multiple devices. Snap a picture of a sharp looking ad using your cell phone, upload it to Evernote, and find it on your computer when you get back to the office. It’s like we’re living in the future or something! Seriously though, Evernote should be an indispensable tool for you as you think, design, plan and store great ideas.
Add to an online reading list
There are plenty of options, but whether you’re using an app like ReadLater or simply using a built in “Reading List” feature, if you find a great design or article on doing media well, click one or two buttons and save it for later. When you’re looking for inspiration later, pull up your reading list and voila! Instant inspiration.

Download and save to a design ideas file
If, for whatever reason, an online, cloud-based solution won’t work for you, simply save any great design idea that you come across and keep it organized in a file on your computer. I still find inspiration from images I saved years ago in my ideas file. In going back through my file while writing this article, I was reminded that I finally had a breakthrough in designing our bulletin for last year by pulling up an old design that I’d saved in my ideas file. It was just one small element to the design, but it made all the difference. If not for that ideas folder, I might still be stuck!

No matter how you do it, simply stop saying, “Hmm, that’s neat,” and then hoping you’ll remember later. Save that idea immediately and file it away for future use.

Borrow from those who do it best

It’s reported that Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” I’m certainly not for stealing anything in reality, but I am for imitating those who do media well. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I’ve flattered a lot of great designers! I don’t recommend just copying and pasting someone else’s work, but there’s lots of proper ways to borrow from good designers.

You can email the designer and ask them if they mind you copying their design. Most media designers that I’ve spoken to or emailed not only don’t mind me copying their design, many have actually offered to send me their artwork or original design files. Others have simply pointed me in the direction of where they drew inspiration or told me that they put their whole design together using free resources.
And that, to me, is the greatest secret to doing media for your church and not breaking the bank. There is an abundance of great logos, images, fonts and other design elements available for absolutely free online.
Check back next week for the final post in this series and we’ll give you links to lots of great free resources that can help take your church media design to another level.

Article by Brad Smith


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