Getting Into “The Zone” Of Ideal Tension
Dive into this topic by watching the video, followed by key explanations below.
Productive cognitive friction lives in a zone of “ideal tension.”
Differences will automatically produce tension.
If we lean in, we can explore the space between our different viewpoints.
This can be uncomfortable, but as long as we don’t go too far—or back off too much—this is where the magic happens.
You can think of it like building muscle: without a little pain, there’s no gain. But if you overdo it at the gym, you’ll injure yourself.
Anything that pulls a group out of this zone is not good—when the group is trying to make a breakthrough together, that is.
Anything that encourages “organizational silence,” not participating fully, or holding back is at odds with progress.
Anything that turns things personal, nasty, or combative is at odds with progress as well.
Cognitive friction and being in “The Zone” of ideal tension is NOT about not being nice.
In fact, treating people well while keeping fractious discussions about ideas (and not making things personal) is a good way to keep things in the zone when cognitive friction is high.