The Science of Human Development

I’m intrigued by the countless connections between science and business. Organizations are organisms impacted by relational and environmental conditions.

So, how do we as OD professionals help create alignment, or synchrony, within organizations? What conditions are necessary to align energies and behaviors that accelerate growth?

In the online science publication,, author Robert Gonzalez shows how 32 discordant metronomes achieving synchrony in a matter of minutes. Gonzalez tells us the key is “…placing them on a movable surface. Energy from the motion of one ticking metronome can affect the motion of every metronome around it, while the motion of every other metronome affects the motion of our original metronome right back. All this inter-metranome “communication” is facilitated by the board, which serves as an energetic intermediary between all the metronomes that rest upon its surface.”

The board, in this case is the “movable surface.” The flexibility it allows contributes to the alignment.

This in consistent with systems scholar Russ Ackoff’s statement that “the most flexible part of a system drives the system.” In order for organizations to achieve alignment, something must shift.

I’d argue that ideally everyone shifts a little, until synchrony occurs.