← to resource directory

enterprise alignment

Harmony necessitates differences

On the equation that results in "harmony."

by Rich Price

When people think about “alignment,” they’ll often talk about the importance of “getting on the same page,” “being in lock step,” “getting our ducks in a row.” But it’s worth saying out loud that unity (noun: the state of being united or joined as a whole) is not the same thing as unison (noun: the state of sameness).

Alignment is “coordination” — think of the “murmuration” example — not unison. It’s in fact “harmony.” Another word that is often mistaken for the absence of tension and differences, “harmony,” at its core, necessitates those things.
Harmony, in music, is the sound of two or more distinct notes heard simultaneously. Generally, three notes make a chord - an A chord, for example, includes A, C# and E. Three notes that together, because of their differences, become a whole.
Similarly, in any “resonant” organization, we should seek harmony, not unison. But harmony is not the absence of structure. If you substitute that C#m in that A chord for, say, a Bflat, the chord becomes dissonant, jarring. In other words, the equation is harmony = diversity + coordination. Applying that equation to your organization, “diversity” could be divergent perspectives, life experiences, skill sets and more. 

Who wants to sing in unison?  Who wants to listen to that? Let's make sure we're singing in harmony.

Stay in the loop

Join our email newsletter and get helpful insights and updates every month.