One Apple A Day #1222
Do you like bananas?
If you live in Europe or the States, you probably think there's only one type of banana in the world. Wherever you go, all bananas look the same.
That's because almost all bananas you can find in supermarkets come from trees that are actually clones of each other.
There are more than 1,000 types of bananas in the world. Many, however, have large seeds that make them nearly inedible. Plus, all those differences are not suitable for business. Producers and merchants seek consistency.
So we domesticated them first to have fruits with smaller seeds, and then we created genetically identical clones that produce consistent fruit. Everyone is happy.
Unfortunately, because all plants are clones, they are also more susceptible to diseases. In fact, in 1890, a disease destroyed banana farms worldwide. So, in the early 1900s, researchers developed a disease-resistant banana: the Cavendish banana that you can now find in every grocery store. At least until a new disease won't force the producers to find or create a new variety.
From a productivity and efficiency perspective, seeking uniformity and consistency may seem a good idea. However, as the story of bananas shows, we miss out on so many flavours and are also exposed to the risk that a disease will wipe us out.
We are all different. We are all motivated by different things, love to work in diverse ways, and express ourselves differently.
And that difference may create tensions within an organization or community. So, it may be tempting to seek similarities and look for uniformity. In doing that, however, we lose a significant opportunity to grow and become more fragile as a community.