The universe contains an absolute geometry. The Mayans knew it. The Sumerians knew it. J. Robert Oppenheimer knew it. Today’s scientists investigating fractals and the recursive nature of science know it.
Everything is in relationship. Point A – somewhere, somehow – has a bearing on and is related to Point X.
The average human draws a breath every four seconds, or 60 times every four minutes. The ancient yogis knew that in the same amount of time – four minutes – the earth turns on its axis exactly 1 degree. To align with the natural flow of the earth, the yogis focused their breath in meditation on having 60 cycles every four minutes. Relationship, my friend, relationship.
Too arcane for you? Wondering what in the Wide World of Sports this has to do with HR or marketing?
Consider the “golden ratio.” It’s a mathematical constant equal to approximately 1.618, expressed in mathematic shorthand as phi (f). Two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of their sum to the larger of their two quantities equals the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. If “a” is the larger quantity and “b” the shorter one, the formula looks like this:
Geniuses from Pythagoras and Euclid right up to the current Oxford physicist Sir Roger Penrose have pored endlessly over this simple ratio and its properties. Leonardo Fibonacci played around with the underlying mathematics as long ago as the Middle Ages. So have naturalists, artists, musicians, historians, architects, psychologists and mystics.
Many of the proportions of the Parthenon are alleged to exhibit the golden ratio. The Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier applied the golden ratio in his modern style of scale and proportion, drawing from Leonardo da Vinci‘s famous anatomical drawing, “Vitruvian Man.”
Your total height is 1.618 the distance from the top of your head to the tip of your index finger (with your arm outstretched). That distance is meanwhile 1.618 the distance from the top of your head to your navel (or to your elbows, for that matter). The human body has many more easily observable relationships of 1.618 to 1.
In a penguin, the eyes, beak, wings and key body markings all fall at golden ratios relative to its height. Ditto for the body sections of an ant and its length. Its leg sections are also “golden sections” based of their total length.
Who cares about the golden ratio? Why does it matter? Still waiting to hear how any of this applies to HR, marketing or the price of tea in China?
Everything at some level is in relationship to everything else. When you start to recognize this truism in science and art, it’s a natural step to apply its effects in marketing and HR. How? Because it can be a constant, positive reminder that, as Starr Tincup managing partner Bret Starr says, all business is personal. Because ultimately, we’re all in relationship with each other.
So before you look at any single proposition in isolation – whether it’s a marketing plan for a new HR product or a making a job offer to a potential new hire – look for the relationships that lie within that proposition and to other actions outside of it.
Telling connections and important relationships are in there. You’ll see them. I lay odds of 1.618 to 1 on it.