In Kenya, festivities surrounding public holidays such as Jamhuri Day are televised on all stations. There’s a lot that happens during the celebrations; acrobatics, plays and speeches to mention but a few. Of the entire program, I particularly love the army match. I have watched it since I was a child and it fascinates me to date. One may ask why, since it is the same year in year out. Well, my interest comes from the impeccable coordination the army displays.
I can’t really put a number to how many they usually are. I tried counting them once but got lost at 50-something. Here is the thing; they match to a live band. (Hold your horses – keep reading) The amazing thing is that the band that plays is also in the lineup, and yet I have never seen any of them missing a step. Their hand-foot coordination completely coincides with the beats. I always asked myself how they did this. Had they all studied music? I had a list of questions which were all answered when I interviewed one of the army band players.
We ever so often hear the words ‘rhythm and harmony’ used in reference to music. Musical rhythm and harmony compares to the rhythm and harmony in an organization. Rhythm refers to a regularly recurring sequence of events or processes through routine. Harmony refers to a pleasing or congruent arrangement of parts.
In a company, it is important for a team to be inspired to work cohesively and keep in step with one another (rhythm), while ensuring alignment (harmony). These, however, do not come easily. It takes dedication, motivation and synergy which can only be achieved with time.
The army practices for a very long time before the day of performance. If one of the members doesn’t get it right, the other members will help him because they work as a team, and together everyone achieves more. If one of the army men is not well-coordinated, the audience will not point a finger at just him and say, “That guy is so off-beat!”
They will say, “The army is so off-beat, some of them are on the left foot while the others are on the right one!”
When there is a person in an organization who lags behind, it is the duty of the other team members to lift that particular person up because when one man falls, the entire organization will fall. An organization is like a chain; for it to be firm and strong, each team player must be strong on his own and hold the next team player’s hand tightly and so on and so forth.
Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change – this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, and fresh hope. And out of hope, progress. -Bruce Barton