Momentum solves everything

Movimiento es vida.
(Brad Pitt in World War Z)

The most obvious thing in life is to see someone to move somewhere. You see speed and direction and suppose a destination and a motivation to go there. Motivation propels movement and destination gives it a direction. Even if it is a simple search for something one can recognize these aspects.

There is a momentum moving towards a goal.

Goal-driven movement is a lot more general experience. An enthusiastic talker, a focused software developer or a scientist deep in their thoughts is moving internally, with whatever complexity. Again, there is speed and direction, goal and motivation.

And there are people who don’t move. They may be drifted by the environment but have no internal force to enact autonomous movement. They don’t develop, they just change.

The same applies to organizations. They move fast, they move slow or stand still. There may be many activities driven by adaptation to environmental change but what counts is a self-propelled movement towards internal vision and goals.

This latter we call organizational momentum. It is not just a concept, but something everyone can perceive when interacting with an organization. It has thousand faces ranging from immediate self-expression to prompt problem solving to fast customer care to … You feel like these people are present and united. They don’t complain but solve and are ready to learn.

An organization gains momentum if individual development vectors are aligned with or at least have a common direction with the organizational change vector. The amount how much an individual vector is pointing to the same direction as the organizational vector we call vector fit (mathematically this is the projection of the individual vector to the organizational one).

The size of the fit (green vector) depends on the angle and the length of the individual vector.

The individual vectors set up a vector field. To manage the vector field is the foremost task of HR management. It starts with hiring those who have a good vector fit and goes on with performance and bonus systems, that are intended to increase vector fits. HR mostly wants to hire senior staff who have long and fitting vectors and junior staff who have short but fitting vectors. The latter are supposed to grow fast as the environment will give them resources to develop.

If the management or the HR is not aware of the vector space, they may look at people as simple resources and try forcing them to change their vectors (a good example is to send people to trainings where they should learn something they are really bad at — motivation and success is guaranteed). The opposite approach is to give people space to find the most fitting roles what they can play in the organization. It doesn’t mean they can do what they want. It means that in that role their vector fit is maximal.

The worthwhile aim of managing the vector field is to arrange the organizational vector and the individual vectors in a setting that produces maximal momentum.

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