Homeostasis: The Result of Successful Management



I found the following article on Wikipedia and immediately realized the correlation between homeostasis in the scientific world and sustainable success in the business world. I found it very interesting to "edit" the piece by (inserting applicable terms) which serve as viable substitutions to the words preceding them.

For another coherent piece, one might also substitute familial terms along with principles of: love, discipline, respect and education respectively as these scientific concepts are universally sound across every family, school and business that is, at it's core, a small branch of the greater natural world in which we live.


 "In simple terms, it is a process in which the body's internal environment is kept stable, despite changes in external conditions. The concept was described by Claude Bernarrd as Multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustment and regulation mechanisms make homeostasis possible."

With regard to any given life system (business) an organism (employee) may be a conformer or a regulator.

Regulators (managers) try to maintain parameters at a constant level over possibly wide ambient environmental variations.

Conformers (smart hires) allow the environment to determine their parameters (buy in).

For instance endothermic animals, namely mammals and birds(successful managers) maintain a constant body temperature (standard), while ectothermic animals, namely almost all other organisms (non-managent)unless acted upon may exhibit wide body temperature (behavioral) variation.

Behavioral adaptations (engaged managers) allow ectothermic animals (non-managent) to exert some control over a given parameter.

For instance, reptiles (unsatisfied employees) often rest on sun-heated rocks (strong leaders) in the morning to raise their body temperature (morale, performance or perception).

Regulators (Management) are also responsive to external circumstances (customers, market fluxtuation, demand, competition, etc..), however: if the same sun-baked boulder (motivational leader) happens to host a ground squirrel (colleague / employee requiring less motivation) , the animal's metabolism (colleague's moral, performance, perception, etc...) will adjust to the lesser need for internal heat production (motivation) .[citation needed]

An advantage of homeostatic regulation (effective management) is that it allows an organism (business) to function effectively in a broad range of environmental conditions. For example,ectotherms( non-management employees) tend to become sluggish at low temperatures (when business is slow), whereas a co-located endotherm (manager) may be fully active. That thermal stability comes at a price (higher salary and benefits) since an automatic regulation system (keeping your head when all others about you are losing theirs...) requires additional energy.

All homeostatic control mechanisms (Successful Systems of Operation) have at least three interdependent components for the variable being regulated: The receptor is the sensing component that monitors and responds to changes in the environment (executives / general managers). When the receptor senses a stimulus (performance), it sends information to a "control center", the component that sets the range at which a variable is maintained (board of directors / ownership) The control center (board) determines an appropriate response to the stimulus (performance). In most homeostatic mechanisms, the control center is the brain. The control center then sends signals to effectors (mid-level management), which can be muscles, organs or other structures that receive signals from the receptors (general manager) or control center (directors). After receiving the signal, a change occurs to correct the deviation by either enhancing it with positive feedback or depressing it with negative feedback.[10]

Positive Feedback:

Mechanisms (praise) designed to accelerate or enhance the output created by a stimulus (successful performance) that has already been activated (achieved).

Unlike negative feedback mechanisms that initiate to maintain or regulate (critique / correct) physiological functions within a set and narrow range (underperformance), the positive feedback mechanisms are designed to push levels out of normal ranges (motivate by positive reinforcement).

To achieve this effect, a series of events initiates a cascading process (appreciation and engagement) that builds to increase the effect of the stimulus (performance). This process can be beneficial but is rarely used by the body due to risks of the acceleration's (unwarranted praise/ reward or unnecessary expenses) benefit being diluted.

One positive feedback example event in the body is blood platelet accumulation, which, in turn, causesblood clotting in response to a break or tear in the lining of blood vessels. Another example is the release of oxytocin to intensify the contractions that take place during childbirth.[10]

Negative feedback:

Negative feedback mechanisms consist of reducing the output activity (limiting privileges or offering constructive criticism) of any organ (employee with opportunity to improve) or system (many) back to its normal range of functioning (procedure).

A good example of this is regulating blood pressure. Blood vessels can sense resistance of blood flow against the walls when blood pressure increases. The blood vessels act as the receptors and they relay this message to the brain. The brain then sends a message to the heart and blood vessels, both of which are the effectors. The heart rate would decrease as the blood vessels increase in diameter (known as vasodilation). This change would cause the blood pressure to fall back to its normal range. The opposite would happen when blood pressure decreases, and would cause vasoconstriction.

Another important example is seen when the body is deprived of food. The body would then reset the metabolic set point to a lower than normal value. This would allow the body to continue to function, at a slower rate, even though the body is starving. Therefore, people who deprive themselves of food while trying to lose weight would find it easy to shed weight initially and much harder to lose more after. This is due to the body readjusting itself to a lower metabolic set point to allow the body to survive with its low supply of energy. Exercise can change this effect by increasing the metabolic demand.

Both feedbacks are equally important for the healthy functioning of one's body...

Homeostatic imbalance:

Many diseases (business failures) a result of disturbance of homeostasis, a condition known as homeostatic imbalance (mismanagement). As it ages, every organism (business) will lose efficiency in its control systems(process management). The inefficiencies gradually result in an unstable internal environment (dymamics) that increases the risk for illness (losses). In addition, homeostatic imbalance(mismanagement) is also responsible for the physical changes associated with aging (obsolescence). Even more serious than illness (losses) and other characteristics of aging(inefficiency) is death(bankruptcy). Heart failure has been seen where nominal negative feedback mechanisms become overwhelmed, and destructive positive feedback mechanisms then take over.[10]Diseases(failures) that result from a homeostatic imbalance (mismanagement) include diabetes(inability to balance books), dehydration(lack of working capital), hypoglycemia(inability to drive sales), hyperglycemia (lack of infrastructure to handle volume), gout (disruptive employees), and any disease caused by a toxin present in the bloodstream (loss, theft, embezzlement).

All of these conditions result from the presence of an increased amount of a particular substance (problem). In ideal circumstances, homeostatic control mechanisms (successful management) should prevent this imbalance from occurring, but, in some people (organizations), the mechanisms (standard operating procedure, standard of care or systems of operation) do not work efficiently enough or the quantity of the substance (seriousness or lifespan of the problem) exceeds the levels at which it can be managed.

In these cases, medical intervention (outside consulting services) is necessary to restore the balance, or permanent damage to the organs (culture, mission, people power, etc...) may result.

According to the following citation, every illness has aspects to it that are a result of lost homeostasis (managent controls): "Just as we live in a constantly changing world, so do the cells and tissues (businesses) survive in a constantly changing microenvironment (marketplace). The 'normal' or 'physiologic' (profitable or sustainable) state then is achieved by adaptive responses to the ebb and flow of various stimuli (activity and performance) permitting the cells and tissues to adapt and to live in harmony within their microenvironment... Thus, homeostasis is preserved. What is good for individual cell is good for the entire system.


Author George Leonard discusses in his book "Mastery" how homeostasis affects our behavior and who we are. He states that homeostasis will prevent our body from making drastic changes and maintain stability in our lives even if it is detrimental to us.[12]Examples include when an obese person starts exercising, homeostasis in the body resists the activity to maintain stability.[13] Another example Leonard uses is an unstable family where the father has been a raging alcoholic and suddenly stops and the son starts up a drug habit to maintain stability in the family.

A note to other advisors, consultants, parents or anyone looking to champion a turn-around, Leonard also said: "Homeostasis is the main factor that stops people changing their habits because our bodies view change as dangerous unless it is very slow." Expect resistance and unnecessary delays if the need for change isn't first communicated and desired system-wide. Expect success if it is and you have the time and resources to walk them as opposed to pushing them through it.

Future Value: Real Expectations for New Dads


My Letter to a few Magazine Editors:

After letting our nanny go, I took on the seemingly easily managed task of staying home with our 2 yr old daughter. She wasn’t sufficiently potty trained  to attend a local Montessori yet... so the plan was to save money while contributing more significantly to the development of our daughter Catherine. Everything I read portrayed today's stay-at-home dads as an in vogue and growing sub-culture of creative elites and the affluent who placed family above leisure. After watching my umteenth diaper commercial featuring only dad's, I figured that I would be in good company…that there would be dad groups to join… and bonding over play dates....but what I found was quite the opposite.  You see, I don't live in Tribecca or I was the only at-home dad in my neighborhood. And in suburban Philadelphia, most working dads are about as accepting of stay-at-home dad's as they are of drag queens.

Upon embarking on what has become a life-altering sabbatical transitioning from working dad to at-home dad, I decided to keep a journal as a form of therapy… since there was no-one with whom to commiserate. I now post those journal entries on my blog:

As I share the experience of taking on this, at times, overwhelming role I also share the resulting new perspectives on fatherhood. Most mainstream media continues to print articles that discuss the increasing popularity of women being the breadwinners and  fathers taking over the domestic responsibilities… but no-one seems to be addressing the incredible hurtle men face of overcoming the generations-long conditioning of gender identity. Not to say that successful professional women have it any easier...they are still very much a minority, but they do seem to share more company.

Please consider exposing the social and psychological  challenges men with successful professional wives face, when they make the decision to “stay home” with their children who aren't yet spending 5 or 6 hours a day at school.

I believe if more men knew more what to expect, they would be better prepared caregivers and not waste as much of what precious little time there is trying to figure it out. If there’s one thing I have learned…it’s the importance of understanding early-on that attempting to balance work and the full-time care of a two year old ensures that both will suffer. The benefit of staving off professional atrophy comes at the cost of a child and father both being robbed of as much joy and growth as this advantage can afford. "Leaning In" to both Mom and  Dad's career requires outsourcing... not commitment and balance.  

Game Changer: Transitioning From Working Dad to Stay-Home Dad


When my wife and I became parents we suddenly found decision-making much more simplified. It all came down to what’s best for our baby. I was a workaholic when it occurred to my wife and me that we could afford to do better than a Nanny for our daughter who, at two years old, required much more than love, attention and regular feedings. Our Nanny was wonderful! And for two years, she faithfully and reliably provided everything our daughter needed in our absence.  We soon realized that the mental development of a child was not only astonishing in itself, but also accelerating at rate we never anticipated…far more rapid than the now seemingly slower development of balance and dexterity which we prayed then cheered for. The necessity to incorporate more cognitive exercises into play and “feed” this little learning machine became increasingly important to us and increasingly beyond the ability of her hired care provider. School was not yet an option because we had adopted the “natural course” method of potty training and thus were still changing diapers on outgrown changing tables.  It was clear that since we could comfortably sustain ourselves on just one salary, the ideal scenario would be for one of us to stay home until she was both of school-age and potty trained. The promise of dinners, weekends and holidays together was a no-brainer. The question as to who would stay home with her was answered as quickly as it was conceived. It was a matter of simple economics really... my wife is a surgeon while I was a restaurant consultant and commercial real estate broker in a down market.

There's a scene in the film Cast Away in which Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck, finally builds a raft capable of taking him past the breaking surf that has held him captive on a deserted island for years.  Once Chuck realizes that he has overcome the surf and is in the open water, he rows himself away from his former prison and begins to weep while watching it get smaller and smaller on the horizon.

With over twenty years of experience in the restaurant industry and a successful consulting business taking off, being a stay-at-home dad would be an escape from: long hours, constant drama, exhausting redundancy and hidden stress for what I knew would be a better life. But, like Chuck, I understood how painful it is to leave everything you know (good or bad) and everything you have become behind. 

“DBA: Daddy” represents the paradox and resulting identity crisis with which I am struggling. It reflects my belief that being a stay-at-home-dad demands the honing of every skill-set I previously utilized in my professional pursuits. “DBA: Daddy” is now a way of sharing my transition from “working dad” to “stay-at-home dad” with anyone else who thinks that they too are probably the only guy at Gymboree mentally calculating the franchisee’s Bottom Line based on average class size, hours of operation, number of employees and market rent per square foot.