Thursday, June 16, 2016

Homeostasis

Homeostasis is the physiological tendency to move toward stability or equilibrium.  

We observe homeostasis in human development.  In the early years, children grow rapidly - physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially.  That growth occurs in fits and starts, and reaches its most chaotic peak (usually) in the teenage years.  It's as if all those integrated systems of humanness are banging against each other, trying to reach some sort of consensus on how this thing called "living" is supposed to unfold.  

Inevitably (for most of us) the systems begin to stabilize and move toward more balance and better overall control.  This movement toward homeostasis creeps ever forward through midlife, until in the latter years, it's as if there's no energy left.  Just staying alive, not living, seems to become the primary objective.

The same sort of developmental evolution toward homeostasis occurs in organizations (yes, they're just organisms, too).  In the early stages of raging hormones and rapid growth, chaos and erratic behavior seem to rule the day (mostly absent of good systems and effective protocols).  But, as time goes by and maturity sets in, well-designed systems begin to move the organization toward homeostasis.  At this point, organizations often become the bureaucratic monsters we have come to hate.  They seem to exist only for the purpose of their own existence.

Wise humans and wise organizational leaders understand these processes well, and with astute vision and leadership craft a fulfilling path toward maturity, but carefully avoiding the deleterious effects of stagnation.  

Continued LEARNING is key to realizing a rich and healthy "old age," both in humans and in organizations.     

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