The Organizational Energy Formula

by  Scott Mautz  |  Workplace Issues
The Organizational Energy Formula

Unfortunately, research shows that as managers we can unwittingly destroy an employee’s sense of meaning with our behaviors that correspondingly drain a sense of certainty, completion, confidence, or community.

When this happens, employees seek to migrate the derivation of meaning to alternative pockets as part of an internal balancing act.  The shocking loss of meaning at work is energy draining. Alternative sources of energy are correspondingly and desperately sought.

Such is the impact of a manager’s corrosive behavior on the energy flow of an organization. In fact, it is helpful to think of an organization’s energy as expressed within a formula – a formula that serves as a useful conceptual tool. This formula contains 4 self-questions to ensure you aren’t draining meaning at work.

The Organizational Energy Formula

Et = E1 +/- E2 – E3

The formula reads like this: The total energy that an organization has (Et) is equal to the energy of the employee (E1) plus or minus the energy the manager brings to the table (E2: The manager can be a positive or negative ion, minus the forces that drain the energy of the organization (E3).

So the idea is to ensure that you are contributing only positive ions to the energy formula, and helping to neutralize the negative ions of energy that can gain critical mass all around you in the organization.

Of course, bring all the positive energy you can to the job and to those around you.  But also ask yourself these four questions to ensure you are not unknowingly sapping the organization’s energy:

  1. Am I adding to the sense of certainty others feel in their jobs, or detracting from it? Do I provide clear vision and direction?
  2. Am I adding to the sense of completion others feel in their work, or detracting from it? Are you allowing others to complete their work without changing direction, giving them autonomy to do so?
  3. Am I adding to each person’s sense of confidence, or destroying it? Are my behaviors overly critical? Do I fail to show appreciation?
  4. Am I adding to the sense of community or violating it? Are my behaviors callous, withdrawn, or inauthentic?

Our job as managers is to control variables in the organizational energy formula such that it becomes an equation for a winning, meaning-rich, and fulfilling workplace.

What component do you find most important to organizational energy? Let us know in the comments…
Photo Credit: Morguefile

About The Author

Articles By scott-mautz
Scott Mautz is author of Make It Matter: How Managers Can Motivate by Creating Meaning , which was just named a “Best Book of 2015” by Soundview BusinessBooks. He’s also an award winning keynote speaker, and a 20+ year veteran of Procter & Gamble, having run several thriving, multi-billion dollar divisions along the way. Connect with Scott at www.makeitmatterbook.com.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Frank  |  15 Apr 2015  |  Reply

what an interesting concept and approach to organisational and employee energy.
This is something that is not featured at all from my experience on leadership /management programmes.
Would love to find out more about this concept,
Great post thank you

Page Cole  |  17 Apr 2015  |  Reply

What a great visual concept to wrap our heads around! I’m not sure most leaders have stopped to consider that they might actually be making things worse (negative ion) if they aren’t focused, intentional and encouraging, and just as interested in building the team member as I am completing the project.

One more math note. Your formula nails it:
Et = E1 +/- E2 – E3

But consider this…

Et = ((E1 +E1)3 +/- E2) – E3

I couldn’t get the superscript to work on this note, but the observation I’m making is that when more than one team member comes together, they synergy of that effort exponentially increases, and can minimize the overall effects a negative leader and the forces that drain energy from the organization.

That’s why I think what you’re saying is so critical! When we see the math of relationships, we can overcome the obstacles in front of us!

Thanks for the encouragement!

John E. Smith  |  18 Apr 2015  |  Reply

Okay , Scott … nobody told me that math would be involved …

I will leave the mathmatical figuring to Page, who seemed to understan and this special type of magic.

However, I do want to thank you for a set of powerful questions for any manager or leaderhip to consider. The self-reflection required to make full use of these excellently phrased questions is not natural for everyone. Some of us will have to really focus and let go of our ego a bit to answer honestly and usefully.

I would consider this effort well spent …

Thanks for a thought-provoking and useful post:)


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