Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference

People often spend countless hours developing a fine tuned business plan. They then bet their careers on successful implementation of their plan. What happens if there are slight changes in markets and conditions they so carefully analyzed in order to come up with their plan? If like the atomic clock versus the standard rotational clock, unless adjustments are made to keep the two in sync, catastrophe could result.

The time it takes for the earth to make one complete revolution is 86,400 seconds…almost. If left un-adjusted, after about 1,000 years our clocks would be off by about an hour. In 1972 a more accurate measurement of time was adopted, known by most of us as the atomic clock. This clock ticks with microwave light at about nine billion times each second, which allows for a much more precise form of measurement. Twenty-five times since 1972 we’ve had “leap- seconds”, which work like “leap-years” in keeping the two types of time measurements equal. The timing and amount of the clock adjustments are coordinated through the combined analysis of labs from 50 nations, each analyzing data in the respective locations. Today, in order to keep them equal, at 7:59:59 pm Eastern another 1 second adjustment will be made.

What could happen if these slight adjustments were not made? Navigations systems use extreme precision at the nanosecond level (one billionth of a second). For airplane navigation, satellite communications, etc., even a billionth of a second can be important. Remember, in one billionth of a second light travels about a foot.

Business leaders and managers could learn a lot from the world’s time-keepers. If each department (like the labs in different countries) constantly monitored and reported changes, and if leaders (like the 50 countries) used the provided information to make even small changes in their plans, their chances of avoiding catastrophes will be greatly increased.