No, it’s not the sign of a creative mind.
There’s a new book that tries to sell the premise that messy is not a bad thing. Supposedly, it’s a style rather than a sign of disorganization.
I don’t buy it. Yes, Andy Rooney has a messy desk and is a successful “commentator”. I guess. Frankly, the guy seems a little confused to me with his “have you ever wondered why cereal always comes in a box?” No, Andy, I haven’t.
The second law of thermodynamics states that a closed system is ever moving toward disorder. Stay with me. This is very important.
By “closed system”, they mean you’re not putting something in. The “something” usually refers to energy. And “disorder” means things are breaking down naturally.
Simply stated, “if you don’t put some energy in, things will break down”. This is a law of physics.
Business tends to ignore this very important physical law. When things go wrong, we look for cause. We should know things will fail, will go wrong, will break, will unravel whether we “pre-indentify” cause or not. It’s a law.
Example. I build a tall house of cards on my dining table. How long will it remain intact? Can you give me a predictable time that my card house will survive? If you can control all the variables, you might think you can predict the life of my card house but you cannot control even a fraction of the variables.
That’s where businesses go wrong. They think they can control the variables.
And if you could? The card house would still fall down. It’s a law of physics. The very atoms that make up the cards are bouncing around—mixing and decaying. In a million years there will be only dust remaining of the card house and the table it’s built on.
Everything, by physical law (entropy) is speeding toward breakdown. If, however, energy is put in, the breakdown can be delayed. It can be delayed for as long as it matters. I don’t really need my card house to last a million years do I?
Okay, you’ve made it this far. Let’s make a point. If you’re busy “putting out fires” all the time, you are dealing with the result of entropy. But if you really understood that entropy is a real force, a true physical law, you could put in a little energy before the “fire” starts.
Take the picture above. That picture represents the natural state of an office if energy is not applied toward making [and keeping] it neat. No one goes into an organized office and messes it up. It gradually brakes down.
People that do not understand this always feel “done” after they clean up a mess. They feel as though they’ve fixed something. Gradually the mess [problem] returns. The mess is the natural state of things.
If your shipping department is a mess, that’s the natural state of it. The answer is not to clean it up. The answer is to develop the ways (god, call them procedures if you must) to maintain order and evolve slowly back to organized. This applies to every aspect of your business.
Giving the order to “fix customer service!” or “clean up the warehouse!” will just waste time and money because entropy will tear it all apart.
If you don’t deal with entropy, you won’t improve (fix) anything.
That’s Business Astronomy™! Today, business is rocket science.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog