Entropy is a measure of disorder in a closed system that results in loss of energy, reducing the amount of energy available to perform work. When a system is “entropic” it is moving towards a chaotic state. An integral concept in the second law of thermodynamics, entropy is also a necessary consideration when working to maximize the efficiency and success of a business.
Entropy is complicated. Would you rather just talk?
Understanding Entropy Through BMI
We can consider the effect of entropy by looking at the human body. Everyone is looking to have a lean BMI (body mass index), but a healthy BMI isn’t zero; in fact, the body will die well before reaching a BMI of zero. While excess fat will slow you down, it’s important for your body to have enough reserve energy to maintain its systems; immediately burning every calorie you take in is not sustainable. It is far more dangerous to be anorexic than overweight because your body will quickly fail if it doesn’t have enough energy to function properly through times of stress and increased need.
Entropy in Business and Management
Applying this concept to business helps you understand that while entropy exists in every system, you can manage it more effectively to increase your organization’s efficiency and effectiveness. Rather than attempting to trim away all the proverbial fat, you can assess ways to make that stored energy work best for you. The sooner you accept there is going to be a certain amount of energy loss in your process, the sooner you can get to work determining the ideal balance of consumption and production to maximize your bottom line.
Captain Edward A. Murphy, an engineer stationed at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949, found a transducer wired incorrectly and said of the technician who’d done it, “if there is any way to do it wrong, he’ll find it.” Since then, the idea that “if anything can go wrong, it will” has been credited to Captain Murphy. The basic theory that things will get worse under pressure is not a new one, but it’s important when considering the function of entropy in the workplace. By preparing for potential energy loss, you can figure out the best methods to deal with it correctly and limit the lost capital.
If you’re wondering how to effectively work with entropy in your business, contact Cornerstone’s team for assistance.