From Good to Great to Gravity
Throughout my career I’ve read literally hundreds of books on business performance. From Jim Collin’s Good to Great to David Thompson’s Blueprint to a Billion to Zaffron and Logan’s The Three Laws of Performance, the various authors all offer a slightly different thesis for what it takes to crack the code on elevating business performance.
The ideas and concepts contained within these works are usually presented to the reader as being larger than what we typically see in standard business books. In fact, with respect to The Three Laws of Performance, Warren Bennis describes the ideas as: “…laws that govern individual, group and organizational behavior.”
One day, as I was re-skimming the dust jacket of Good to Great, I came across a sentence that became the genesis for this blog: “Are there companies that defy gravity and convert mediocrity into long-term superiority?”
The word in the sentence that grabbed my attention was gravity.
Isaac Newton defined gravity as a force – one that attracts all objects to all other objects. Understanding the law of gravity, one of the fundamental forces of physics, offers profound insights into the way our universe functions.
In physics, the sub-field of classical mechanics is concerned with the set of physical laws describing the motion of bodies under the action of a system of forces. The study of classical mechanics is one of the oldest subjects in science, engineering and technology.
The laws of classical mechanics govern the motion of all objects, from falling snowflakes to planets and galaxies hurtling through space. They also provide extremely accurate results as long as the domain is restricted to macroscopic objects moving at speeds below the speed of light.
Having spent the first part of my career working in the field of high-energy physics, I began seriously thinking about business performance in the context of classical mechanics. If a business can be thought of as a body in motion, and a market can be compared to a system of forces, couldn’t the application of classical mechanics be used to describe (and in some cases predict) business performance?
This blog is an exploration of that idea – and an invitation to join me in the journey. We’ll take a closer look at business performance through the lens of physics. I can’t make any promises as to what we’ll find- but along the way we might get a chance to drop a few balls off the Tower of Pisa – even if it’s only figuratively.
The Physics of Business is a personal blog. The views, ideas and opinions expressed here are my own. They have nothing to do with any organization with which I have a business relationship.
Effective as of January 01, 2012.