Note: This is an excerpt from my latest book, Drive One Direction: How to Unleash the Accelerating Power of Alignment. In the EveryOne chapter, we highlight companies who unleashed the accelerating power of alignment with an intense focus on talent management disciplines.
23andMe (www.23andme.com), based in Mountain View, California, has over 500 people and more than 5,000,000 customers. As one of the leaders in DNA testing, they have an interesting headline on their career page.
Join our gene pool.
The name 23andMe refers to the fact that human DNA is organized into 23 pairs of chromosomes. They offer a web-based service that helps people understand what their DNA says about their health, traits, and ancestry.
The process starts with a simple saliva sample. 23andMe then extracts DNA from cells in your saliva sample, processes the DNA on a genotyping chip, analyzes your genetic data, and generates a personalized report.
As you might imagine, one of their core values is “We ♡ DNA!” Here is how they explain it:
“Deciphering the human genome is the most exciting scientific discovery of our lifetime. A secret code in each of us! There is spectacular human diversity in the world and we celebrate and embrace it. We want to empower everyone to understand the genome and what it means for each of us. We believe anyone—yes, anyone—can learn about and understand their DNA. We want to bring innovative research and products to both scientists and consumers that make them as excited about their DNA story as we are!”
Of course, they look to hire people who share their company’s unique DNA:
“It’s our goal to bring innovative thinkers and top-notch talent together to make a difference in people’s lives. If you're committed to our vision of helping people access and learn from their genetic data and want to be a part of a mission-based culture, we want you to join our gene pool.”
Consider this: 99.9 percent of human DNA is common to all human beings. Imagine—there are over seven billion people of all shapes, sizes, heights, weights, sexes, and colors on the planet—and our DNA is 99.9 percent alike.
Thus, only one tenth of one percent of the DNA sequence is unique to each individual.
One tenth of one percent!
We believe that each company—like each person—has a unique DNA. So, the hiring process starts with clearly identifying your company’s unique DNA. While there is a standard definition for human DNA, there isn’t one for corporate DNA.
In 1998, Gareth Morgan published a book called Images of Organization. It was the first to apply the concept of DNA to corporate culture. Since then, several other authors and consultants have also used the term with a multitude of meanings.
Whereas Blommer Chocolate’s founders literally shared the same DNA, most companies must go through the process of codifying theirs. Your company’s unique DNA is the thing that uniquely identifies “your kind of people.”
So, to join 23andMe’s “gene pool,” you will have to match their unique corporate DNA.
Has your company codified your unique DNA?