Unrecognized delays can also lead to instability and breakdown, especially when they are long. Adjusting the shower temperature, for instance, is much harder when there is a ten-second delay before the water temperature adjusts, then when the delay takes only a second or two. During that ten seconds after you turn up the heat, the water remains cold. You receive no response to your action; so you perceive that your act has had no effect. When the hot water finally arrives, a 190-degree water gusher erupts from the faucet. You jump out and turn it back; and, after a delay, it's frigid again. On and on you go, through the balancing loop process. Each cycle of adjustments compensates somewhat for the cycle before. A diagram would look like this: [diagram omitted] The more aggressive you are in your behavior--the more drastically you turn the knobs--the longer it will take to reach the right temperature. That's one of the lessons of balancing loops with delays: that aggressive action often produces exactly the opposite of what is intended. It produces instability and oscillation, instead of moving you more quickly toward your goal.

source: Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline p 90-91 tags: Change, Systems