Collaboration OR “The Equilibrium Law”


"Any change in status quo prompts an opposing reaction in the responding system."

(Gall, John (2002). The Systems Bible (3rd ed.). General Systemantics Press. The System always kicks back)

Most of us love new ideas, new customers, big orders, and new technologies. In order to realize those dreams we often try to use obsolete tools that prepare us for the past :

  • Plans are compiled as if the outside world wouldn’t exist & resources would be available in an ideal composition.
  • We are tempted to disregard that already a small change in one area can have strong impact on another.

“The Equilibrium Law”

However, the conditions of any such system in which all competing influences are balanced require more than i.e. a solely concern with either deployment of technical components & procurable systems or development of people in the organization & their relationship. One often just nudges issues to another area. Collaboration is behavioral, not a process or a system.

Applying Le Chatelier's principle in an operational context can be translated into

When any system at equilibrium is subjected to change in any of its dimensions, then the system readjusts itself to (partially) counteract the effect of the applied change and a new equilibrium is established.“

Or in other words :

It is an art to master the chaos by getting those dimensions to move in time and concert with another. It is all about (1) messaging / communicating (2) triggering behaviors (3) sustaining actions, and (4) shaping cultures at all dimensions.

The 5 Dimensions of Operations

  1. Customer
  2. Product
  3. Team
  4. Business Model
  5. Financials


How to establish Consistency *
(from Operational Viewpoint)


Examples for Consistency (expand as you wish)


Operations is visible to your clients

  • develop and establish products / solutions that fit the market and clients will come
  • provide a good service and clients will stay
  • take great care of your clients and they will spread the word


Operations delivers

  • build a problem/solution fit within your core-competency and clients will recognize them
  • disregard “nice to have” features & product scalability before product/market fit because rarely anyone will pay for it (up-front)
  • develop new products that break the rules and jump the curve


Operations provides restlessness

  • design an operating system that matters for efficiency, effectiveness and culture, and diverse behaviors will neglect bureaucratic approaches
  • seek, seduce and give home to inquiring, inquisitive and restless minds and they will earn you the money
  • implant collaborative people, make sure they are visible, others will mimic - and you will sail more plainly


Operations drives profit margin

  • treat money like it would be yours, because it literally is – everyone’s salary; if you need it to fix issues, it cannot create added value
  • stay disciplined, scale maturely, and you will always be taken serious
  • get only as much money as you need to get thru so you will not miss it elsewhere

Business Model

Operations runs purpose

  • articulate the real purpose of your business (build to last, build to exit, build to serve, build to host…) and you will optimize your set-up
  • go go go once you’ve reached 60 % “readiness” and you will be in time
  • adapt your model to changing conditions and you will stay on track

* adapted from start-up-compass public

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