Corporate Deformities

The Hapsburg Jaw, also known as the Austrian Lip, is the protrusion of the lower jaw accompanied by a thick lower lip and typically an abnormally-sized tongue. Though an unappealing feature, those with the condition had little trouble finding a mate. Especially if you are talking about a 16th century European royal who had no qualms in wedding within the family.

Georgianna Lowery writes,

"Through generations of royals marrying each other and therefore closing the ranks of their gene pools, the Habsburg Jaw manifested itself just about everywhere in Medieval Europe. The House of Habsburg, which is named after the Habsburg Castle in Switzerland, is associated with the Habsburg Jaw because so many of its members had it.

Charles II, the last Spanish Habsburg, was feeble-minded and physically deformed as a direct result of his limited gene pool. His ancestor, Joanna of Castile, actually appears in his family tree no less than fourteen times because of first and second cousins intermarrying. It is said that Charles II's genetic makeup was more muddled than it would have been if his parents had been brother and sister."

Most of society does not need a lesson to warn against inbreeding, but corporate deformities can develop just as easily. I'm not speaking about nepotism, but rather the congenital problem that occurs when ideas associate only with like ideas.

Status Quo

Despite contrary statements or pledges, most politicians surround themselves with agreeable minds who will promote agendas rather than challenge them. Whether Obama filling his staff with Chicago cohorts or the commonality found in Trump's office, those in power typically want focused thought that comes from a dozen cohorts in accord. This homogeneous unit principle begins at school, where similar looks, thoughts, and social strata cohere.  It continues on to adulthood where church congregations often look the same from pew to pulpit.

And the same holds true for the corporate world, where good ideas are so often matched only by the same family of thought. The result over time is that concepts are misshapen aberrations of the original.

The idea of entropy comes from a principle of thermodynamics dealing with energy. It usually refers to the idea that everything in the universe eventually moves from order to disorder. We know this well, as part of 8th grade Science curriculum. But we often forget the addendum: entropy takes place in a closed system.

Adding Energy

For an organization to grow instead of corrupt, it must receive energy from without. Uniform ideas that have no variance constitute a closed thought system that will eventually bow to the laws of thermodynamics. To succeed, energy needs to work its way into the network in the form of the unfamiliar. Harmony sounds pleasant, but it needs a contrary.

Without testing and without objection, the best programs will not find their weaknesses. A good idea will languish short of brilliant. A company will stagnate and maintain what it finds comfortable and common.

The challenge is to seek a well-meaning contender who does not take your word as gospel. It may not always be pretty . . . but neither is marrying your cousin.

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