Towards a deeper understanding of Organisational Energy

"Energy is life.  Biologically, socially and economically."

Bernard Bigot - Director General ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor)

To understand the complexity of organisations you first need to understand the three E's 

Let me throw down the gauntlet.

The real reason organisations fail, leaders remain clueless, employees dislike their bosses and remain disengaged, and academics talk endlessly about the theory of leadership until the cows come home, is simple.

There is an almost total lack of even a rudimentary understanding of the three 'E's' that drive organisations.

Energy.  Entropy.  Evolution.

Instead we are faced with an endless stream of just talk.  And no action.

Let's keep things really simple.


An organisation is a system.  Complex and dynamic, yes.  But still a system.

As a system it has potential energy to do work and compete.

It can convert this potential energy into kinetic energy - action and outcomes.

We can define this system energy as the capacity to think and act in real time.

This energy can be measured and generated.  Not theoretically, but practically.

Every organisation has an energy envelope.  This determines what it can and cannot do.  There are no shortcuts.


Every system in the universe loses energy over time.  From atoms and molecules to stars and galaxies.  From people and teams to organisations and nations.

This is all about the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  And the reason why you will never get a patent for a perpetual motion machine.

No person, team or organisation can escape the inevitability of this law.

Everything loses energy over time.


Our universe operates on a remarkable piece of evolutionary software.  To the best of our knowledge there have been no updates in 14 billion years.

This evolutionary algorithm - so smart no-one really understands it - keeps the energy flowing and drives the emergence of life, complexity and even consciousness.

Effectively the evolutionary algorithm (I call it the true brain of the universe) is a reverse entropy machine. It injects new energy where energy is lost to entropy.

And that's it.  Really simple.  The 3 'E's.

If you understand the 3 'E's you can manage any organisation.


Think of your organisation as a hot air balloon.  To make it rise you need to continuously inject new energy.  This is the role of leadership.

This is a science based action.  Not a theory.

When you stop injecting new energy, the balloon cools and sinks.  Much like declining motivation, engagement and the share price.  This is entropy.  Ruthless.  Relentless.

And in order to inject new energy, leaders need to understand how to apply the evolutionary algorithm to generate new and emergent levels of intelligence and action.

This means acquiring a whole new set of science based methods, concepts and principles.  Where repeatability and validity are the order of the day.

Tomorrow's leadership development programmes will need these three core modules.

The 3 'E's.

Energy. Entropy. And Evolution.

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