Angle of Repose


Leaders and Managers can learn something from dirt itself in its embrace.

Leadership and Management is all about balance between the two. Balancing upside opportunity with downside risk. Chet Raymo illustrates a great metaphor from the world of science for getting this right – the angle of repose

  • “There is a concept in physics called angle of repose. Set an object, a book say, on a plank. Now slowly tip up one end of the plank until the moment when the book just starts to slide. The angle between the plank and the horizontal is the angle of repose, where the component of the gravitational force down the plank becomes greater than the maximum friction force holding the book at rest. Or, in more evocative terms — As I write I am lying on the couch with the laptop in my lap, in perfect repose. If you started tipping up the couch, at some point I’d go sliding into a heap at the bottom. That’s the angle of repose, or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it the angle of the end of repose.”

Leaders elevate the trajectory, Managers keeping things from falling down. Both together achieve the angle of repose.