n 1867 Sir Isaac Newton published his ground-breaking research describing his three laws of motion. It was 101 years before I was born and it totally redefined the way the world looked at physics and science for ever more.
But what does this have to do with what we are passionate about – leadership?
It might seem somewhat left field, however, Newton’s three laws of motion can be used as an interesting analogy for leadership and teamwork. And we do just that by leveraging his work and in the creation of our own law!
Newton’s second law of motion says:
Force = Mass x Acceleration
What’s important to note in this work by Newton is that force involves both magnitude – how much work you are putting in – and direction – where that work is focussed. In other words, if you want to accelerate in a particular direction, then the size of the force you apply and the direction of that force will both make a difference.
Just pause to reflect on that in your everyday life.
A great analogy is Dominoes. You might need to cast your mind back to when you last played. When dominoes fall, how fast the row topples (acceleration) depends on how well they are set up (direction) and this in turn is affected by any friction.
Well aligned, slicker tiles mean less friction between dominoes. And that means less energy will be lost as they topple against each other making them fall faster.
It’s the same story for leadership and teamwork. You only have a certain amount of force to provide to your leadership work and where you place that force is just as important as how hard you work. This is about working on the right things, minimising friction and leveraging focus and direction to maximise impact.
We have flipped Newton’s Law to create our own Law of Leadership Impact. We are leveraging 155 years of science in this work!
Mass x Acceleration = Force of IMPACT
Where Mass = people – aligned, connected, empowered and united people and teams;
Acceleration = momentum, direction and focus;
Resulting in Force = impact, performance and maximised potential
The typical model of centralised, hierarchical decision-making is making it increasingly difficult to respond in a world moving at blistering speed. These models slow decision making, innovation and have a negative impact on empowerment. The reliance on a ‘leader’ – the person with leader in their title to makes decisions is old school.
These shortcomings were apparent in the early days of Covid when flatter organisations pivoted more successfully and where cross business unit crisis committees came together to effectively run the business.
New models are emerging with distributed decision making, collaboration, connection and empowerment at their heart. And it’s an approach that lets organisations be agile instead of reactive.
As Newton’s first law of motion tells us, objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest. Unless acted on by an external force.
Just as James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, explains, putting habits into place, creating one even very small move if you are at rest, if you are stuck and not sure of a way forward, can start the right motion. The most important thing is to find a way to get started.
The good news? Once you get started, it is much easier to stay in motion and motivation often comes from that motion.
And even better news is that our IMPACT model provides the science and a process for maximising your teams performance and potential and therefore bringing our Law of Leadership Impact to life – Mass x Acceleration = Force of IMPACT.
We start working with teams on the first element of IMPACT – getting together in your teams and setting your intentions, creating alignment to your purpose and being clear on your why.
If you would like to work with us to set your team up for real IMPACT please get in touch.