Music teaches us much about ourselves. For instance, perfect music teaches us what music we like. The music we like teaches us about organizational culture. It teaches us what we like in our cultures.
When computers play music perfectly, we like it less than when humans play it imperfectly. Our perfect music is imperfect music. That imperfection is expressiveness.
Music and Organizational Culture
Perfect music has this lesson for us. The more we move to reduce individual expression in our work, the less we like it. The more we standardize and automate our companies, the less we will enjoy working in them.
Perfect music has another lesson for us too. If it is too imperfect, it is just noise. There is a balance. Perfect music is imperfect. It just cannot be too imperfect.
The Challenges of Perfect Music
Finding the perfect music in building company culture is a challenge. People differ in what they think is perfect. They differ in how much imperfection they can take.
Jimi Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock is a great example of the tension between the two. From a robotic viewpoint, Hendrix is playing it very wrong. It is imperfect. From a human viewpoint, it is expressive. It is perfect music.
It is not perfect music to all though. Some will find it screeching noise. Others will find it tearful beauty. That means the culture cannot be excessively different from what already exists.
This means we must show the new culture as a natural outgrowth of the existing one. For more dramatic changes in culture, we will need to drive change in steps.
Organizational Change and Diversity
There is only one way to play music perfectly. There are many ways to play it imperfectly. The latter allows us to adapt, change and grow. The first does not.
Music teaches us that the perfect human is imperfect. It is normal for us to hire people just like us. We pass on the imperfect. It reduces our adaptability. What we get is perfect music.