Is "IT" in your companies DNA?

Is “IT” in your companies DNA?

If a company had DNA, that is. When corporate leaders say “It’s in our DNA”, they’re really saying “It’s in the fabric, in the make-up of this company.”

We hear it in commercials and in slogans. It’s almost always described as a positive, although we know our DNA carries both the good and the not so good. Research is focused squarely on the genetic trouble-makers, trying to find the keys to our DNA that might unlock the mysteries of inherited disease and other genetic signals.

But let’s stick to the positive. Here are some of the latest big and small organizations that use DNA to describe their culture. With most companies, the reference describes an overriding philosophy.

  • Toyota loves to reference DNA, found in many corporate documents
    • The willingness to take on new challenges has been in Toyota’s DNA since it’s founding
    • You can’t become legendary overnight. And with that history in our DNA, it’s not wonder 90% of all the Toyota Corollas sold in the last ten years are still on the road today.
    • It’s in Toyota’s DNA that mistakes made once will not be repeated.
  • Steve Jobs, describing Apple
    • Our DNA is a consumer company—for that individual customer who’s voting thumbs up or thumbs down. That’s who we think about.
  • Gucci’s Frida Giannini
    • I don’t want to be too ‘classic’ because it’s not in the DNA of Gucci. You need to be a little provocative.
  • The United States, as described by President Barack Obama
    • The president said while attitudes about race have improved significantly since he was born to a white mother and a black father, the legacy of slavery “casts a long shadow a that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on.”

Here are a few others on the bandwagon…

  • Samford University
    • Education is in our DNA
  • SeaMart Foods
    • The Spirit of Alaska is in our DNA 
  • San Jose Jazz Summer Fest
    • Latin Jazz in is our DNA
  • Milwaukeans, according to “edible Milwaukee
    • Outdoor drinking: you hear the phrase and your mind conjures sunshine, good company and cold ones. It’s practically in our DNA.
  • Georgia-Pacific Packaging (very busy DNA)
    • Sustainability. Customer Focus. Innovation. Quality. Value Creation. These are the strands in our DNA that set us apart.

Companies can create the messaging that ties DNA to corporate culture. As we know, companies are made up of individuals, all with unique DNA. Therein lies the real story—how is the real DNA of the company leaders influencing the culture? Is entrepreneurship in our DNA? Is creativity passed on in DNA? Can leadership be influenced by DNA?

The information in our DNA is impossible to quantify, and yet we are working every day to extract any glimmer of intel we can from it’s well of material. Just this month the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded on research into how cells repair their DNA. Now the Noble Prize – there’s an award with prestige in it’s DNA!