Big Ben’s 14-foot minute hands move with accuracy down to the penny, yes, to the penny! Learn how one penny can influence a 31,000-pound bell.
I have three battery-powered clocks. You know, the kind that must be manually reset every Spring and Fall? I can hear when a battery needs replaced because the secondhand sounds flat; it just doesn’t have enough power to make it past the nine on the clock face! I may complain about switching out rechargeable batteries, but at least I am not winding each clock by hand or taking responsibility for their accuracy. This is in stark contrast to London’s Elizabeth Tower where the bell, fondly known as Big Ben, chimes every hour. That clock is tuned to 100,000th of a second using optic sensors, computer charts, and, surprisingly, old coins!1
The whole belfry shudders when the 31,000-pound bell chimes at about 180 decibels-- emitting more sound than a jet taking off!2, 3 In the mid-1800’s, the tower was commissioned to be “the biggest, the most powerful chiming clock in the world” and accurate to within two seconds a week. It is certainly no longer the biggest, Abraj Al Bait (in Saudi Arabia) currently holds that title, with a clock face stretching to 141 feet in diameter perched on the third-tallest building in the world. That clock does not chime, which is a good thing because it sits atop the hotel’s main tower.4
To maintain Big Ben’s accuracy, small adjustments accommodate the:
Measuring even minor deviations in the form of internal environment and external influence is key to making early adjustments. Consider the far-reaching impact on a team who is now encouraged to be more accountable or celebrate teamwork. Think about the impact slight market fluctuations or seasons of tension have on your work, your colleagues, and your clients. As leaders, we know smaller changes are easier to design and communicate. Our teams are better able to acclimate and get back on target when they are invited to engage in slight improvements over time.
Sources: 1 YouTube: The Mechanical Genius of Big Ben (7m 59s); 2 Purdue University: Noise Sources and Their Effects; 3 The Sun: Big Ben Facts; 4 Wikipedia: Abraj Al Bait (pronounced Abrāǧ al-Bayt, meaning “Towers of the House”).
by Michelle Sugerman • Leading Synergies, LLC • © All Rights Reserved
Visit a Synergy Group and discuss the transformative Leadership Development and
Spiritual Growth presented in the Leader's Field Guide. Synergy Group Members
can access this week's Synergy Group Agenda in My Gym Bag.
Light-Hearted Wisdom for Serious Business