When the MD of local chemicals manufacturer Dolphin Bay, Bertus Coetzee introduced the idea of ‘quantum entanglement’ in a staff workshop earlier this year, he had no idea of the enthusiasm he would ignite.
Almost every staff member experienced an ‘Aha!’ moment, realising that quantum entanglement provided a powerful lesson in how to optimise their performance.
1. Connected to your colleagues
Quantum particles are the tiniest known particles of various kinds, including photons, and “quantum entanglement” refers to particles that, once connected, remain connected even if they move far apart. If one does something, the others seems to know about it, and react, instantaneously.
“The implications are that if one thing changes within a company, there is a ripple effect,” explains Dolphin Bay chemical lab manager Navi Moodley. “The business culture I help to create, through my words and actions, has an immediate impact on my colleagues.
“To give a practical example, if I am developing a new chemical product and do a perfect job, this improves the lives of everyone in our team, from factory manager to salespeople and their customers.”
These realisations give Navi fresh motivation to do his best all the time, “because they give me perspective on the power of my actions,” he says.
Marlize Jacobs, the finance and admin manager at Dolphin Bay, points out that quantum entanglement highlights the importance of being happy in your job. “If you are unhappy, it will be almost impossible to contribute in a positive way, which will affect the entire system negatively,” she says.
“We all need to ensure that whatever we do is correct, well-conceived and positive.”
2. Faster than light
Previously, scientists believed nothing could move faster than the speed of light – the “cosmological speed limit”. However, experiments have shown that the communication between entangled quantum particles is even faster. In fact, it is instantaneous.
Navi explains using another metaphor. “It may seem that two staff members are separate, but we are more like two sides of one coin. This is why what happens to one person, happens to others, with no time lag.”
Instantaneous communication seems positive, but communication of the wrong messages can cause instant derailment from a company’s real mission. The way to overcome such problems is through communication, says Marlize.
“Communication is the glue holding a company together. As an individual, make sure you communicate thoroughly, professionally and accurately, and never make any assumptions! This will result in a purely positive effect.”
3. Distance is no object
Confounding all conventional logic, entangled quantum particles remain connected, even if they are at opposite sides of the galaxy.
Dolphin Bay is divided into three geographical areas – Mossel Bay, Sabie and Durban – in order to service clients all over South Africa.
“Despite the distance between us, we are connected due to our common goal – to contribute positively to the well-being of the company,” says Marlize. “This emphasises how important it is for us all to buy into the company culture.”
For Bertus, quantum entanglement emphasises the leader’s responsibility for establishing an inspiring culture and vision.
“Business leaders are like ‘entangled’ particles with a strong influence. At Dolphin Bay, our vision is founded on integrity and service. Our staff are extremely motivated by this vision, and when making decisions I take continuously take their input into account.
“For me, ‘quantum entanglement’ provides a metaphor for creating a dynamic company in which we all do our utmost, and together we reach heights we could otherwise not have imagined.”