Leadership lessons from a metronome

I love this simple demonstration of how multiple metronomes that start out of sync eventually align to one steady beat.

 

It’s a playful reminder of the importance to change leadership of being connected. Consider the set of metronomes as a metaphor for a project team, then:

  • All the metronomes are not started at the same time. Just as not every member of your team needs to start at the same time, but it does take time to get alignment.
  • Each metronome is set to the same tempo. Similarly, everyone on the team must be “marching to the same beat” for synchronization to occur.  
  • Each metronome is rigidly connected to the platform. In the same way, a project must have a firm foundation, i.e. a mission, goals, etc., by which its team operates.
  • The platform must to be able to move. Just as a project’s foundation must be flexible, adaptable, in order to give each team member the space he/she needs to fit in.

Here is an additional demo with a lot more metronomes:

 

You may have noticed it suggests a final lesson:

  • There is one solo metronome that at one point is perfectly out of sync with all the rest, and is the last one to get in sync. Just like there always seems to be that one last key stakeholder in a project that resists, but finally gets on board.

There are deeper physical and psychological aspects to this phenomenon, called entrainment, which can affect group behavior. I’ll save that for another blog.