The Energy Source v The Energy Sink Theory of Life

Big Red Car here on a wet Austin By God Texas day. It is May, y’all, and it is time to contemplate the Memorial Day floods.

Here is a pic from the 1981 Memorial Day floods, my first personal intro to the phenomenon. This pic is taken at the bridge in front of Hut’s Hamburgers, home of some of the best burgers on the planet. There were car lots next to Shoal Creek and hundreds of cars ended up in the creek.

Image result for images austin texas memorial day floods

When you come to Austin, you are going to want to get a Hut’s Hamburger. Trust me on this. Get the hickory burger.

But, we are really not here today to talk floods. We are here to discuss The Energy Source v The Energy Sink Theory of Life.

Bring it, Big Red Car

Energy is the power source for the entire world — startups, your personal life, everything.

The world is subdivided into sources of energy and consumers of energy. A consumer of energy is called an energy “sink.”

[If you took Thermodynamics, a truly scary course with entropy and enthalpy and other frighteningly indecipherable concepts, you are ahead of the crowd as you know exactly what an energy sink is. It is the same idea as a “heat” sink, something that absorbs heat.]

In your life, in your business, on some board you sit on — do you recognize who brings the energy to the dance? Of course you do. 

In your life, in your business, on some board you sit on — do you recognize who eats the energy like it’s French fries (thin, crinkle cut)? Of course you do.

Image result for images of french fries

Uhhh, Big Red Car, “theory of life”?

Yes, of course, here it is. Sorry.

You want to build teams around energy sources.

You want to avoid energy sinks.

That problem, brilliant programmer? You have to assess whether his contribution is more than the amount of energy he consumes. When the energy sink consumes more energy than the programming brilliance, you have to take action — maybe eliminate the energy sink? Yes, indeed.

When things go wrong in an organization, the first sign is a change in The Force — the Energy Balance.

Someone who may have been an energy source turns about and becomes a consumer of energy. Some mildly out-of-control energy sink jumps the shark.

Bottom line it, Big Red Car

First, recognize the critical importance of the energy balance within you and the company.

Hold up a yardstick that enables you to use this measuring tool. Most of the issue is simply recognizing the concept.

Take a critical measurement — look at the team. Who are the energy sources? Who are the water treaders — the worker bees? Who are the energy sinks? How much is The Force impacted by the Energy Balance?

That is all I want you to think about. As I look back at companies who are trying to solve problems, I am seeing this basic evaluation tool as becoming progressively more important on both an organizational and an individual level.

Game of Thrones? Uhh, maybe it’s an energy sink if you binge on it?

The brilliant marketer hitting on the sales force and the clients? Maybe he’s an energy sink.

That not-so-brilliant, but perfectly dependable gal in accounting? Maybe she’s an energy source and the enterprise is riding the crest of her wave.

Look for the Energy Balance. Look for the sources and sinks. Reward the sources. Deal with the sinks.

Whatever behaviors you reward, you will get more of them. Know this.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be well. Beware the Memorial Day floods, y’all.