Is homeostasis holding back your project?

In chapter six of my book, Projects On Purpose 2.0, I discussed five reasons why project team members do not share the same purpose.  Of course, there are probably many more than five.  In fact, homeostasis is often a sixth reason.  Homeostasis is a systemic resistance to change.  In the human body, it includes all of the systems that keep our internal workings going in a stable manner.  It’s not normally a bad thing in that context.  It’s what maintains 98.6 deg F as our core body temperature.  And it keeps us going on a day-to-day basis.

But homeostasis also resists other types of changes.  For example, have you ever tried to lose weight but plateau’d at a certain point?  Your body finds a new “normal” and homeostasis tries to keep it there.  It’s just doing what it always does but, in this case, it is resisting positive and beneficial change.

In case you haven’t noticed, humans and organizations also often prove resistant to change.  And this can be a problem for your project because nearly all projects, by definition, involve a change of some sort – whether in process, information systems, facilities, or even the possible success of new products.  They all involve change.  You should be on guard against this natural resistance to change in your organization and your projects.