While consulting for companies I sometimes explain that a company operates pretty much like a mechanical body. Some sort of kinetic energy must be applied to the body/company to keep and to accelerate its pace. Transitioning from classical mechanics to management is an interesting exercise.
The kinetic energy is the expression of the energy stored into a body resulting from its motion. This movement can be transferred from the main body to one or several other bodies.
Most of us have had the chance to go cycling. If, when going downhill it is anticipated that a climb uphill will come, we instinctively want to take the advantage of the ease to gain speed while going downhill in order to attenuate the burden of the coming uphill climb. The acceleration brings kinetic energy by to the bicycle in order to rise as far as possible uphill.
The motion of a company is maintained by the employees and by the way the processes are thought and executed. Without kinetic energy brought to the company, the inherent frictions will absorb a portion of the energy, the processes will get rusty, and the employee’s motivation will fade away engaging the company to a decline.
How is the kinetic energy expressed? Let us consider the classical mechanical form. The kinetic energy of a mass m travelling at a speed v is proportional to mv2.
The kinetic energy of a company can be compared to its corporate culture: the company needs to have engaging missions, visions and values in order to attract investors, customers and employees. Those clear and attractive missions, visions and values are supporting the core purpose and embracing the culture of the company. Here we are: missions m, visions v and values v, re-arranged as mv2.
Setting the comparison with kinetic energy of the corporate culture stated in the format of missions, values, and visions, (mv2) has two main consequences:
First of all, it means that they must be carefully drafted, reflecting carefully the purpose and objectives of the company. Drafting this corporate culture is a difficult exercise to which a sufficient amount of time and effort must be allocated. Only the top level of the corporation can draft its corporate culture. An external consultant is usually very helpful to get the ball rolling and to challenge the sense of this corporate culture (mv2).
Second of all, the corporate culture (mv2) is not immutable; it can evolve along the time. Evolutions are required to adapt to the market trends, to the transitioning societal culture or new legislation. The way we were conducting our business before is perhaps no longer appropriate, so the corporate culture should be adapted.
The corporate culture (mv2) is set as a guideline to all the procedures of the corporation. It conveys a strong message to which all the stakes of the corporation are hanging: the investors, the employees and of course the customers.