Executives have learned over time to value diversity – in the statistical world, better known as variation – as good business because it creates a richer, broader perspective to solving and executing strategy. But to manage variation (diversity), leaders must accept each team member as an individual, perhaps as a recognizable personality type, but with distinct strengths and capabilities.
This principal of recognizing and accepting each person as an individual applies to companies as well. Variation in companies is the unique mix of the key elements, mindsets, processes, and behaviors that blend together to form the companies backbone. As with individuals, this variation is a result of nature – the company’s interaction with its environment – and nurture – how the company has been, and is, managed. If the elements are aligned so that the elements create synergy with each other, the company performs well. If the elements do not create synergy, if they conflict, or fail to support each other, the company performs poorly.
Although aligning the elements is more complex than that of a team, the basic approach and thought process is the same. A good team leader knows her team members well, has the analytics to understand them deeply and knows how to manage them to create synergy. Executives of successful companies do the same at the organization construct level.