19 July, 2014

Law of Collective Inertia...

        [People from diverse fields (including social-scientists, psychologists, government and corporate leaders, who read my post on "Positive Inertia" gave me a very positive feedback on it, motivating me to think further on the subject.  I have shared just highlights here...]

Isaac Newton used 'Inertia’ as a technical term and his law can roughly be paraphrased as “bodies tend to retain a given state of stillness or movement, unless an external force is applied”.   Albert Einstein had to redefine the concept of inertia in terms of geodesic deviation to postulate his General Theory of Relativity.  But this article doesn't deal with either of these gentlemens' concepts.  

Instead, it focuses on the colloquial (esp. philosophical) employment of the term and creates its own set of laws!  The colloquial inertia doesn't necessarily collide with its scientific namesake, since both deal with "how bodies (living or non-living!) tend to resist change in speed or direction".   

Colloquially, inertia is cited more as a mental - usually negative - phenomenon to explain a person’s recalcitrant, indifferent and non-proactive behaviour. 

But closer examination reveals that: 
(i)  inertia is - by itself - neutral & 
(ii) a number of people also function (or can be trained to function) with Positive Inertia (PI). 

In a collective context, whole groups can tend to have Positive or Negative Inertia, based on influential individual's within that group, the organization's leadership skills and other factors. 

Organizational leadership is about: 
(a)    Identifying the general trends within a group,  
(b)    the individuals who influence it,
(c)    building and tapping PI jointly and severally among all bodies within a group and 
(d)    increasing the Total Positive Inertia (TPI) within each group, thereby within the whole organisation.  

This article suggests methods to measure and track Total Positive Inertia (TPI). 

Individual Inertia (II) of an employee (per day) = Average number of Actual Productive Hours (APH) - Average number of Theoretical Work Hours (TWH) that one is contracted to work per day  (calculated using standard man-hours it takes to complete a given job/project for an individual/group). 

Example 1If A, who is contracted to work 8 hours a day for 5 days a week puts in 30 actual hours a week, his Individual Inertia is = (30-40 )/5 = (-10/5), which is a Negative Inertia of -2. 

Ex 2: If B works 55 hours per week, his II score = (55-40)/5 = +3, a Positive Inertia.  

Almost any group can be divided into people with PI or NI. 
Cumulative Positive Inertia (CPI) = Sum of all employees with PI and
Cumulative Negative Inertia (CNI) = Sum of all employees with NI.

Simple Total Inertia of an org is given by the formula: (STI) = CPI + CNI. 

Ex 1: If an org X with 100 employees, had 60 people with a CPI of 150 hrs and 40 with a CNI of  –80 hrs, the STI of the org would be 150+(-80) = 70. 

Ex 2: If org Y had 200 employees with 50 with CPI of 200 and 150 with a CNI of 300, its STI would be 200 + (-300) = -100

Ex 3: If org Z had 300 employees , 200 with a CPI of 400 and 100  with a CNI score of 400, STI would be 400 + (-400) =

It is obvious that: 

Z with an STI = 0, is in a state of Organizational Equilibrium (OE).
X with STI > 0, is enjoying a mild positive performance from its staff while
Y with an  STI < 0, is  burdened by an under-performing team. 

Daily Simple Average Inertia (DSAI):  This is an important tool to get a macro picture of how the whole organization or groups within it are performing.  DSAI is measured in Hours/Person and can be calculated from the formula: 
DSAI = STI / Total employees
From the above examples,  DSAI of Org X would be:  70/100 = 0.7, which means every employee is actually putting the equivalent of 0.7 hrs more than contracted for everyday. It is now easy to derive Weekly, Monthly or Annual Averages as required. 

Again, in the above examples, the Weekly Simple Average Inertia (W=SAI) of X is 0.7 x 5 = 3.5 hrs/person (assuming 5 working days/week). Its Annual-SAI is roughly 182 hrs/person (3.5 per week X 52 weeks).  With its average employee working above expectation, the organization has cause for cheer, in normal circumstances.  

However, the DSAI of Y = -100/200 = - 0.5, WSAI = (-2.5) and ASAI = - 130 hrs/person means the org should take necessary steps to reverse this under-performance.  

In reality, numerous companies may have staff working much higher or lower than the examples given.  An organisation's long term results may tend to be best in a state of Organizational Equilibrium (OE) or mild Positive Inertia. 

Note: There are Weighted Total Inertia (WTI) and Weighted Average Inertia (WAI) formulas which take into consideration other factors such as the level of each employee but that is a much more involved subject.

Staff Inertia Management (SIM) is an essential part of Corporate Leadership, which has to ensure that STI never gets to the Red Column, which is where my Corporate Melharmony comes in.  But I'll reserve it for another post!