Oscillation. To oscillate. To swing backward and forward like a pendulum.

In business, you can say we’re all swingers, right? Actually, we all have a tone and rhythm.

Tone is sort of like mood. It’s akin to tenor. You could throw style in the mix. So then, let’s say these things make up business tone. Mood, tenor and style.

Some people might swing wildly on a tone scale and some mildly. Each person has an average tone. For example, you might say your boss is pretty nice, level, calm but can lose it sometimes. Still, on average, he’s calm. You may work with someone who is always negative, nasty. These are the gossips. Get this?

Then there’s the rhythm. That’s the tempo. Some people are always moving fast. Some never seem to get started. You can look at everyone you work with and put them on a scale of 1 (slow) to 10 (very fast). Right?

Put tone and rhythm together and you’ve got oscillation. That’s the swing. Can be a fast pace or slow and can be long or short swings. Think of this, to borrow from the new-agers, as vibration. How does a given person vibrate?

Okay, now things get weird.

In physics, we know that two things oscillating will synchronize if they are able to communicate. Two clocks ticking—put them next to each other and they will synchronize. It’s weird. Things that oscillate, synchronize.

Now think about a business. If the boss, who we will say is loudest because she has the most power, is nasty, eventually the business will synchronize to nasty.

Another example. If a couple of people in customer service are rude, the entire service department will become rude. That’s why when you get bad service from someone at a business, you probably won’t get much better service from someone else.

Entire businesses will oscillate in sync.

Before you hire consultants, coaches and team builders to improve your business, consider the oscillation.

Who sets the tone and rate of oscillation? (It’s not always the boss) One loud member alters the oscillation. Just one. How much one person changes the oscillation depends on their volume—how loud are they. If you sit next to a negative oscillator, you will sync up with that person.

What can be done if you have a problem?

You must very, very carefully change the tone and rhythm of the oscillator who is distorting the synchronization you desire.

Can I emphasize this enough?


Can you fix it?


Will it improve your bottom line if you improve the tone and rhythm of your business?


Your call.  It’s not easy and it takes commitment.

Chris Reich