Essential Balances

Three balances are essential for any organization.  The first is between autonomy and cohesion. The second is maintaining both diversity and stability. The third is the balance between exploration and exploitation.

They work at different scales, from individual, team and department to organization and society.  All three balances are important at each scale. They work the same way in projects and in operations. Any organization, hierarchical or flat, digital or not yet, is maintaining these balances when it is performing and adapting well. Failing to keep even one of them for a longer period can be fatal.

Organizations need the capability to maintain these balances. But for that, neither the conventional nor the new tools (AI etc.) would be of much use. Methodologies and best practices won’t help either. Instead, leaders at all levels need to cultivate different thinking habits.

This workshop demonstrates what it means to have such habits and helps in making the first steps. A deeper understanding of the essential balances is achieved through a variety of examples, demonstrations, exercises and games.

The Essential Balances workshop is offered in a full and half-day format. There is also a one-hour summary presentation, delivered free of charge.

There is more information in the related posts and talks (links below), and in this interview.

If you have questions, ask.

You can also order the book.


  • New thinking habits, instead of best practices.
  • What happens when there is too much cohesion and control.
  • What happens when there is too much autonomy.
  • The balance between autonomy and cohesion at various levels.
  • How diversity helps in dealing with uncertainty.
  • Healthy and pathological stability.
  • Balancing exploration and exploitation.
  • The simplest tool for understanding organizational and environmental complexity.
  • Requisite Inefficiency.
  • Productive paradoxes.

Related talks

Related posts