Uncommon Paths, Common Destinations

Blog Posts:Mu Sigma
Published On: 05 December 2014
Views: 1595

In his novel, No Country for Old Men, author Cormac McCarthy writes, “For things at a common destination, there is a common path. Not always easy to see. But there.” In the novel, McCarthy refers to fate and later, a murder, but the saying might also apply to the business world. Though most organizations seek to differentiate, they often take similar paths. A common purpose or destination may indeed rally their forces, but not necessarily lead to noteworthy results.

There’s a reason why companies choose common destinations, of course. Those destinations might be profitable market segments, for instance. And common destinations are also important from an employee motivation perspective – they create a mindset where employees are working toward a larger purpose, and this leads to better quality results.

But our philosophy at Mu Sigma is that companies that conceive of novel ways – uncommon paths – to reach a unifying destination will be more successful. Uncommon paths provide autonomy to employees and enable them to accumulate new learnings in adjacent spaces, leading to higher innovation and better long-term results.

We’re geeks at heart, so we created a 2 x 2 that depicts the Uncommon Path – Common Destination journey. As you can see, we think an optimal position is the top right.

Think about how your organization operates. Are employees encouraged to travel uncommon paths in order to get to a unifying destinations? Share your thoughts below.

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