Unity and Uniformity

Unity without diversity produces uniformity.

Uniformity tends to produce death.

When a human body (or an organization) weakens, its systems slow down and everything tends to become uniform.  The ultimate uniformity with the body and with business is when it ceases to exist (a return to nothingness).

Diversity and Anarchy

Diversity without unity produces anarchy.

Anarchy tends to produce death.

When an organization is overly diverse (broadly defined – programs, products, services, target markets, systems, etc.), it loses its identity and creates confusion (anarchy) internally and externally. This again ultimately leads to uniformity (ceasing to exist).

Balance and Tension

Life, and business, are a never ending balancing act between unity and diversity.

So there is a continual tension between diversity and unity.

What happens is either there is not enough diversity to keep unity from becoming uniformity or diversity has gotten out of control and is destroying unity leading to a type of internal anarchy (self-focus).

Truth, Relevance and Leadership

Unity comes from what we agree on. What we believe. Our truths that don’t change. Purpose, Values, Mission…

Diversity comes from relevance. It informs our unity, making the organization better.

What is relevant is continually changing. It keeps our unity fresh, clear and meaningful.

Balancing diversity and unity comes from knowing the difference between truth and relevance and then continually aligning the two.

If you let what is actually relevance calcify into truth, you’ll lose diversity and move toward uniformity and death. If you have no truths and randomly embrace relevance, you’ll lose unity and move toward anarchy and death.

Leadership then, is a continual search for what is relevant today (diversity) and deciding how that fits with your core truths – purpose, values, mission (unity).

He was not disparaging donkeys.

Donkeys are great at some things but no one would mistake a donkey for a race horse. But in the workplace we often hire perfectly good donkeys for positions that require race horses.

It’s hard to win at basketball without the right talent. It’s imperative in business to get the right people in the right places. Have you been hiring donkeys and then trying to train them to be race horses? How’s that working for you?