I’m reading David Bodanis’ biography of Einstein’s famous equation. In a word, the equation says that that Energy (E) and Mass (m) are interchangeable, convertible like currencies, at a fixed exchange rate, the square of the speed of light (c^2). It says that the invisible world of Energy is constantly transacting with the visible world of Mass.
So what does this have to do with organization? The invisible world of personal passion, opening, storytelling and invitation is constantly transacting with the visible trappings of shared supporting structures and individual actions. Okay, fine. This we sort of already knew, though you wouldn’t know that by watching how we run most businesses. But now it has me wondering about the resulting dynamics, and also about the velocity (the equivalent of c^2) of organization.
What is Energy in organization? Passion, Story, Invitation? And what about Mass? Number of people or some measure of their ‘weight’ as empowerment. As Energy is used up, does Mass increase? As passion and invitation are exhausted, do new structures, actions and capabilities show up? Is Passion and Invitation automatically created when Structures are broken down and action blocked? Yes, I think so.
So what then is the velocity of organization? And is it a physical constant, a limit, like the speed of light? Light is a pulsation, between electricity and magnetism, what Bodanis describes as a little swirling pulsation between the two. Electricity, power, supporting Action. Magnetism, passion, attracting like Invitation.
So progress in organization means refining the pulsation between invitation and action, making organization so efficient that it hums. Or sparkles. Makes me think I was on quite the right track seven years ago, with Inviting Organzation Emerges, when I suggested the highest strategic question in organization is beyond “business model,” beyond “speed,” and even beyond what I suggested as “inviting.” The ultimate question it (still, more than ever) seems to be: “How Light is your organization.”
This is one of those days when it’s really good to have a PhD particle physicist turned organization development consultant in the house. And as luck would have it, she’s coming home a bit early today! Maybe she can help translate the actual equation. Much as I usually think such exercises are just silly, there just might be something valuable in this one, so long as it can stay grounded in the original science.