Organizational Uniqueness #4

Leveraging Organization Uniqueness to Increase Performance


The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s lenses into evolution.  Made famous by Charles Darwin’s astute observations about the changes within species, brought about by natural environmental pressures, the islands are still intently studied today.  In an almost beyond belief discovery – one that seems to parallel the rapid change in the world of homo sapiens –  evolutionary biologists have observed how one bird species – Galapagos Finches – changed the shape of its beak within a generation to adapt to the loss of its traditional food and the arrival of another.*

Not all the birds of the species adapt, but more than enough to ensure species survival.  This again is another uncommon parallel with the current business world; rapid change, rapid adaptation, rapid death, for those organizations that do not quickly adapt.  Organizational uniqueness, the exclusive blend of mindsets, processes, and behaviors, within each organization, is essential to this evolutionary process.  The greater the variation within the species, the greater chance of survival, is true for all living organisms, including organizations.  More specifically, the greater the variation, the faster the development of new ways to execute, which in turn enables new business models to evolve and thrive.

What are the implications of this for strategy execution, managing the daily operations?  There are three key implications: (1) executives need to know, understand, and manage their organization’s uniqueness; (2) executives must regularly mix and match their organizational mindsets, processes, and behaviors, to match or anticipate changes in their markets and customer bases; (3) executives need to learn that they will need different mixes and matches of the key elements in different markets, different customers, and different products.

*Here is the book, the authors and the link, How and Why Species Multiply:  The Radiation of Darwin’s Finches, Peter R. Grant & B. Rosemary Grant,