In this article, I want to explore one of the most fundamental aspects of our universe – entropy. Entropy can be described in equation form:
But please stay with me, because I am more interested in the everyday understanding of the term, sometimes defined as:
“…a measure of disorder in the universe…”
In physics, the Law of Entropy essentially says that all systems, if left unattended, will run down. Unless new energy is supplied, every organism deteriorates. Things tend towards the lowest energy state – iron rusts, organic material rots, the pile of leaves in the garden (that you have so carefully raked together) redistributes itself widely, offices and homes become more and more untidy… unless energy is committed to maintaining or ‘improving’ the status quo.
So what has this got to do with you? Well, if you look at the concept in a different way, the same law applies to individuals and both personal and professional relationships.
How many of us have friends or colleagues who just seem to have drifted off our ‘live’ circle? Unless we put some effort into the important relationships in our life they will inevitable decay, sometimes terminally.
Likewise, unless I put effort into myself I will end up drifting along being buffeted like that tumbleweed in the old Western films. Albert Schweitzer once wrote that some people “harm their souls… without being exposed to great temptations. They simply let their souls wither, not realising that thoughts which meant a great deal to them in their youth, have turned into meaningless sounds.”
My challenge today is to spend some time thinking about, and then acting upon, how you are going to nourish yourself and those you hold to be important to you. Maybe, as a start, you could construct a relationship map. Relationship mapping is a way of pictorially representing the key elements and issues in your team:
- Write your name in a circle at the centre of the page
- Also circle the names of your team members, your boss(es), colleague(s), key external contact(s) and other individuals with whom you have regular contact
- Put arrows to and from each individually, and indicate:
- the current strength of the relationship with the thickness of the line
- the importance (to you and your role) of the relationship with the length of the line
- what you need from them and what they need from you in brief bullet points next to each arrow
- You may wish to use other colours/symbols to represent other aspects of the relationship.
- You might also want to highlight any relationships between the others on the map.
Remember that if YOU want something out of a relationship, then it is up to YOU to do something about it – otherwise it will wither and die.