Lead As If We’re All Connected….Because We Are

As the tools of social media migrate into the business community, we are all reading a lot about the power of connectivity in the workplace.  In a study published by the McKinsey Quarterly last November, their analysts identified the application of social platforms could unlock $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in untapped value in just four industrial sectors representing 20% of total global output.  Without a doubt, unprecedented opportunities are emerging that will transform the face of business in the years to come.  However, before a firm can unlock this potential through the application of technology, they must first address a cultural artifact that represents a very real impediment; employee disengagement.  Gallup has consistently reported that upwards of 73% of employees are disengaged or, at best, only partially engaged with their employer.  The question that immediately comes to mind is how much value can emerge through the virtual connectivity of a disengaged workforce?

In order to reverse the endemic, employee engagement crisis, leaders may wish to consider a single, scientifically substantiated concept;  we’re already, all of us, connected.  Not just to one another, but to everything throughout the universe.  Before you dismiss this concept as some sort of woo woo, new age precept, please allow me to share some eye-opening research, specifically, research demonstrating the non-locality of consciousness from the field of quantum physics.

In 2003, physicists J. Wackermann, C. Seiter and K. Holger published a research study entitled, “Correlation Between Brain Electrical Activities Of Two Spatially Separated Human Subjects”, in the scientific journal, Neuroscience Letters.  In this experiment two people began meditating together with the intention of being connected.  While sustaining their meditative states, they were separated  and placed in isolation chambers incapable of receiving any signal, electronic or otherwise.  Once isolated, the scientists attached electroencephalography devices (an EEG measures and maps electrical activity in the brain) onto the two subjects.  After a few moments, the scientists flashed a series of colored lights at one of the subjects.  The EEG recorded the subject’s brain’s response.  The second subject was not exposed to the lights, yet both subject’s brains responded instantaneously in nearly identical ways.  No signal existed between the subjects, yet their brain’s shared the experience.  They were still connected.  This experiment has been reproduced by other scientists around the world.

Another example of the non-locality of consciousness was recently revealed when the Chinese government conducted an experiment with spinning electrons.  The scientists isolated two electrons that shared the same orbital spin.  They then separated the electrons by a distance of approximately 400 miles.  When they changed the spin of one electron, the other reacted immediately and in the same direction.  This occurred instantaneously, faster than the speed of light.  The purpose of this experiment is the development of communications systems that cannot be decoded because there is no signal carrying the information.  No signal, no intercept.

Perhaps you saw the headlines a few weeks ago about a study from Australia that was published in the journal, BioMed Central.  “Our results show that plants are able to positively influence growth of seeds by some, as yet, unknown mechanism,” said study author Monica Gagliano of the University of Western Australia. “Bad neighbors, such as fennel, prevent chili seed germination in the same way. We believe that the answer may involve acoustic signals generated using nanomechanical oscillations from inside the cell which allow rapid communication between nearby plants.”  Plants may actually be communicating with one another better than people do in many organizations.

Moving from plant science to molecular biology, another study, “Quantum Correlations in Biomolecules”, authored by Vlatko Vedral of the University of Oxford in the U.K., explored quantum signally between biomolecules.  This correlates to things I’ve witnessed firsthand.  Back in 2004, I was the lead strategist in the commercial launch of the first human stem cell (multi-lineage progenitor cells, discovered by Dr. Dan Collins of BioE, Inc.) derived from human umbilical cord blood (this is not an embryonic stem cell, but a naturally occurring cell harvested from post-birth, medical waste).  Dr. Collins was able to differentiate these rare cells into many forms of human tissue and cells.  I had the privilege of standing in the laboratory with Dr. Collins, and looking through a microscope, witnessed a single, myocardial cell twitching in heart rhythm.  I witnessed oligodendrocytes (a type of brain cell), set apart on a slide, extending dendrites towards one another to create new, neural networks.  These single cells, native to the human body, exhibited a form of consciousness in and of themselves.  They knew what to do, even outside of their host organism.

In 2009, working on another strategic project, I had the remarkable opportunity of visiting the Horn Telescope at the old Bell Labs in New Jersey.  The telescope that provided the first proof of the Big Bang, back in the 1930s.  Everything in our observable, and unobservable universe, emerged from this event.  As Carl Sagan said back in the 1970s, we’re all made up of this star-stuff that emerged in a sudden burst of creation, billions and billions of years ago.  Every atom in our bodies, every element, is from that single source.

When leaders begin to shed their conditioned blinders and entertain a slight shift in perspective to include these insights, a remarkably different world begins to emerge.  One of authentic presence, insight and engagement that sheds the us versus them orientation.  If we choose to embrace these scientific findings, and view our world through this new lens of real connectivity, opportunities for growth, innovation and productivity breakthroughs appear all around us.  With a little bit of practice, we might even begin communicating as clearly as plants!

© 2013, Terry Murray.

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Filed under Health Care, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Talent Management

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