Drift is a threat to any purposeful activity or pursuit.
Fundamentally, drift occurs when a system experiences a shift or decline in energy, direction or both. It can happen at all levels and stations of business, work, and life.
Previously successful brands can find themselves adrift when new market forces go unnoticed or disregarded. Programs and projects that have a storied past can find themselves adrift when there is a lack of clarity what to do next.
Couples and careers can end up adrift when essential relationship tasks are disregarded as unnecessary.
But merely being at the helm of things is no guarantee drift won’t happen. Seasoned professionals can unwittingly find themselves adrift and off course, producing devastating consequences. The tragic demise of Korean Air Flight 007 in 1983 is one infamous example.
Perhaps the second law of thermodynamics may be more broadly applied than we think. Given enough time without reliable external inputs, any isolated system will increase in entropy (disorderliness) and find itself with reduced capacity to produce desired outcomes.
Isolation is the co-conspirator that gives drift its toe-hold in a system.
As drift begins its subtle work, it is treacherously deceptive and can go undetected for long periods of time. Drift is patient, clever, and doesn’t like to draw attention to itself. It has its own whimsical, unspoken agenda to go nowhere as quietly as possible.
Drift can apprehend your business, your work, your relationships, your goals and given enough time, it quite literally takes you somewhere you never intended to go.