Structural Tension is a way of Getting things DoneBy
In Lean, understanding current state (reality) is a key to improvement. Our existing aspirations and values form this current condition. Are dynamic urges (targets) are how we form are future state. Robert Fritz and his book The Path of Least Resistance for Managers outlines an excellent approach for practicing PDCA both at the micro and macro levels. Structural tension, as described in the book, is a way that helps us identify the performance gaps at a much more humanistic and intellectual level versus the quantitative approach of metrics. You will notice a great deal of similarity to the Toyota Kata approach.
This is kin to System Thinking that you may remember from Peter Senge’s, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization and The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization.