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  • Applying Newton’s “3rd Law of Motion” to the Workplace

    Workplace Communication photo from ShutterstockDo you realize the laws of physics are in force in the workplace?

    Be aware they may not manifest exactly the same in the workplace as they do in the universe.

    Let me explain.

    Newton’s Third Law of Motion states “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

    In physics this always holds true. That’s why it’s called a “law” in physics.

    There are mathematical calculations that mathematicians and physicists, etc. can use to show us how.

    In leading our daily lives this law of the physical universe gives us comfort and certainty as to what type of reaction we can expect from certain actions we take.

    It allows us to trust our environment.

    It allows us to trust what we will get in return from our actions in our environment.

    That trust allows us to move through out our day-to-day lives with confidence in many ways

    We throw a ball up in the air, we know it will come back down.

    We sit down into a chair and we know the chair will exert “an equal and opposite” force allowing us to sit down.

    We kick a concrete wall only to learn the hard way that the wall will exert an equal force upon our foot in return.

    In the workplace it’s a little more nebulous.

    For the workplace you may even argue that Newton’s Third Law of Motion should be re-stated:

    For most every action there is an unequal and disproportionate reaction.

    This comes in many forms, such as:

    • Offering someone “constructive feedback” only to get a very defensive or even angry reaction, or
    • Making an agreement and commitment with someone on specific next steps. Yet, the follow through by the other person is “unequal” to their commitment, or
    • You leave a voice mail message for someone for which you are still waiting a return phone call (despite a recorded promise to call back “as soon as possible)?”

    These unequal and disproportionate reactions to our actions in the workplace cause us to lose trust in our work environment.

    Losing trust in our work environment creates uncertainty in our expectations.

    Uncertainty in our expectations causes fear.

    Fear creates stuck states and a need to fall back into survival mode.

    Fear and survival mode cause much of the workplace drama and negativity so many experience in today’s work environments.

    If you lead an organization, you’re responsible for this cycle.

    It starts at the top.

    Turning around this scenario is simple!

    It’s about creating a behaviorally defined, values based work environment.

    Are you ready to step up to the challenge?

    Skip Weisman, The Leadership & Workplace Communication Expert works with small business owners to help them create championship company cultures. To help small business leaders create a championship culture with employees performance at the highest levels, Skip recently published this white paper report The Missing Ingredient Necessary to Improve Employee Performance. Download a free copy of this report at The Missing Ingredient Necessary to Improve Employee Performance. During a 20-year career in professional baseball management, Skip served as CEO for five different franchises. That experience gave Skip tremendous insight and skill for building high-performing teams in the workplace and championship cultures.

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