Thinking Physics – Brownian Motion and OKRs

Apr 28, 2022
Thinking Physics – Brownian Motion and OKRs

In 1827, Robert Brown, a botanist, first observed that, when immersed in water, pollen particles moved randomly. This fundamental observation later was developed into a more rigorous mathematical and statistical theory of Random Walk. 🚶‍♂️

Stated simply, the current motion of variable is a random walk and does not depend on the past or future states.

It would not an understatement to say that this randomness principle had most profound impact with varied applications in the fields of financial economics, population genetics, physics, mathematical ecology, polymer physics, computer science, image processing, brain research, wireless networking, speech recognition and more.

The famous Nobel price winning Black-Scholes-Merton equation of pricing derivatives is based on this randomness principle.

Twitter uses this randomness principle to suggest whom you should follow 😂

What I like the most about it is – that randomness is probably (no pun intended) the closest explanation to Nature and our human nature and that got me thinking (about physics, growth, culture and OKRs again). 😊

Randomness & The Engagement Paradox

The flow of work has two states – engaged (active or passive) and disengaged (active or passive). The “feeling” of being engaged (and inspired) depends on situational (work related) and non-situational (personal, familial and environmental) forces.

Whilst, a company does everything to make situational forces support in helping its people move forward, it cannot control the non-situational forces.

This creates our engagement paradox – “People, when they start their day’s work, move randomly to engaged or disengaged states and this movement is affected by both situational and non-situational forces”

As an example, in my own case today, when I woke up and started writing this post, I felt actively engaged but it does not guarantee that I will be equally engaged for tomorrow’s work. Any unfavourable work or non-work related force can make my engagement state random.

The Nagging Question

At its core, every company wishes to continuously grow with a help of an engaging and inspiring culture and deliver exceptional value to its stakeholders.

Let’s take the key stakeholder of every company – its people.

When people “feel” engaged & inspired, they set in a series of motions (collectively referred to as performance) that result in the growth of a company.

Every company (irrespective of the size) does create a set of experiences (around collaboration, communication, onboarding, learning, recognition, town-halls, off-sites and more) for its people to move forward (albeit in an engaged and inspired way).

CEO’s ask me this question all the time – At any point in time, how do I know my people are sufficiently engaged and inspired to keep moving in the direction of growth?”

6Cs – The Missing Link to Resolve The Engagement Paradox

The below steps will pull (not push) people towards the right direction (of growth) and help resolve the paradox of randomness in their engagement:

  1. Creating “frictionless people experiences” across the hire-to-retire cycle
  2. Crafting “north star” goals or OKRs, aligning people and pulling everyone in the right direction (of growth).
  3. Cadencing (rigorously) progress tracking of the OKRs
  4. Conversing with team members around work or non-work forces and most importantly their well-being.
  5. Coaching with continuous feedback, both appreciative and developmental.
  6. Celebrating by recognising output and rewarding outcomes

About OKR Bytes

Unconventional wisdom from practitioners’ perspective on writing, implementing and tracking OKRs, building an engaging performance culture, measuring and tracking performance, measuring and tracking culture, pulse surveys and more.

About Huminos

Huminos is a comprehensive OKRs Software and Growth Culture enabling platform that helps your employees to achieve impactful outcomes, even if they are working remotely.

  1. Aspire for growth with OKRs and align your people
  2. Inspire your people continuously with an engaging growth culture of conversations, coaching and celebrations
  3. Measure growth & culture – continuously, reflect & calibrate your people’s performance.

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