May 23, 2022

Thinking physics – Gravity & OKRs

A lot has been written about leadership in general and qualities of a leader in specific.

How exactly do good managers and leaders help us grow? Here is fresh take using first principles of Physics.

Gravity

Proposed in 1915 by Einstein, Gravity is most accurately described as the curvature of spacetime. This curvature in spacetime is caused by uneven distribution of mass. The masses move along in geodesic lines. A geodesic describes the general notion of straight line in a curved spacetime.

A fun experiment – 3 people, 1 piece of plain cloth, 2 marbles (unequal masses) – voila! – see gravity in action.

Let’s apply gravity to an organisation’s context:

Unequal Masses

In the context of an organisation, we all carry unequal masses 😂 If someone says all of are equal, they are saying so in a “Orwellian” sense. Beware of such people.

If you carefully notice, some people “gravitate” towards a few. These few “have weight “ or “have gravitas”.

One can accumulate weight, gravitas by consistently delivering on outcomes and assuming more responsibility over time.

PePo Curvature

Performance is delivering on outcomes.

Potential is the ability to assume responsibility (both for self and the team) and help others grow (in mass).

Performance and Potential are akin to the fabric of spacetime. Let’s call this PePo.

We have unequal masses because of the difference in our performance and potential.

Laws of Organisational Gravity

  1. Mass increases with the increase in the consistency in delivering outcomes.
  2. Gravitas increases with the increase in shouldering of responsibilities.
  3. Unequal masses cause the curvature in the fabric of PePo. This curvature causes people to “gravitate” towards others.
  4. Decrease in ownership of outcomes causes increase in attrition as people lose mass (relatively) and escape the gravitational pull.
  5. Lack of ownership —> Lost meaning —> Active disengagement —> Attrition
  6. Only HiPers (high performers) can cause people to collapse or escape their gravitational pull if they do not delegate ownership of key results in a transparent manner.
  7. HiPots (high potentials) allow people to own outcomes and create space for them to grow.

OKRs & PePo Curvature

How do good leaders help others grow? Well, they have an intuitive understanding of the PePo curvature and how and whom to delegate outcomes for maintaining the delicate balance and achieving maximum impact.

Here is an heuristic model such leaders use:

Any mismatch in the delegation of OKRs, the cruel nature of gravity kicks-in to disturb the delicate balance in the PePo fabric.

Well, if you have watched the movie Interstellar – “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”

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 OKR and Growth Culture software 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.
Sunder Nookala

Sunder Nookala

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