On the importance of Tuning. A nonbusiness business article.

(first published on Linkedin)

Music has always been my greatest passion. I had the privilege of growing up in a family of music lovers and players, and since childhood, music has been a key part of my upbringing and shaping of my character. It has given me a vantage point on why sometimes projects, teams, schedules or personal relationships don’t work, which I can definitely trace back to the first step required for music to happen: tuning.

In business, other words are used as synonyms for tuning: alignment, agreement, connection, understanding, plus many others. For a music lover like me, nothing explains the concept better than thinking about the strings of a guitar.

Typically, a guitar has six strings. Incidentally, the US Army suggests that units should never have more than six people reporting to a leader, but I digress.

Balanced Tension

Each of these strings have to be first in tune with itself. Too slack, it will sound distorted and lost. Too taught, it might snap. There has to be tension, but it must be balanced.


Once each string is “in tune”, it then has to be harmonized with the other five for music to happen. We have all heard what an out of tune guitar sounds like, much like a group of people not understanding each other or playing their role in harmony.


Finally, when all these things are in place, music will happen. The team will perform as in unison creating value greater than the ability of each string to produce melody, or each team member to drive an organisation forward. This might appear as a stretched analogy, but I know music lovers will appreciate.

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