Uniqueness is Not a Disease

Most workplace environments have been designed for uniformity. Organizations invest countless hours and millions of dollars into attracting new talent; but when it comes to managing talent they already have all of their systems and tools are constructed for sameness. They cascade goals to tout alignment, demand well-roundedness of their people, and work towards filling in the gaps where those qualities are lacking. Organizations have built these practices with the best of intentions, but your talent can’t be treated as a homogenous, uniform group – not if you want a highly engaged and highly productive performance output. We’ve built all of our systems and tools around the assumption that human uniqueness is a bug to be fixed rather than a feature to be maximized. This is where we must make change. Click To Tweet

The truth is that uniqueness is powerful, and most of these companies spend more time trying to neutralize your uniqueness rather than amplify it. But we know that uniformity doesn’t increase efficiency; it decreases engagement and productivity. And with the advancement of machine-operated learning and artificial intelligence algorithms, now is the time to really analyze and encourage uniqueness in our people if we want these systems and best practices to actually support and improve how they work and operate in the real world. The power of human nature is that each human’s nature is unique. Click To Tweet

Of course, we still need well-roundedness in our organizations. But that well-roundedness won’t come from individuals; instead, it will come through teams. Leveraging each person’s uniqueness in a complimentary way provides you, your teams, and leaders of teams of teams the opportunity to channel and refine the strengths of each individual. If you want to increase productivity and create and organization that is a magnet for talent, stop treating uniqueness like a disease and start recognizing its power.

To learn more about why the best employees aren’t well-rounded, check out Lie #4, or read Nine Lies about Work


  1. Patty McKay August 14, 2019 at 11:01 AM - Reply

    Hi Marcus,

    Longtime follower! I love your work! I normally happily consume your posts and incorporate many of them into my work.

    This post is different. I do not agree with you that systemic process crushes the ability for people’s uniqueness to shine through and be highly valued. I see it all the time. I live it everyday.

    I believe a corporate structure can happily and successfully and peacefully coexist with uniqueness and deviance! It is what makes the work so fun and engaging!

    Keep doing what you are doing! Looking forward to your next post!

  2. Diana August 15, 2019 at 3:45 AM - Reply

    I too love Marcus work and I 100% agree with what he is saying here. It is all about the culture of the organization and what they deem acceptable or not and, in some industries the uniqueness is not looked upon as favorable. THANK YOU Marcus because this truly hits home with me.

  3. Eugene August 15, 2019 at 10:32 AM - Reply

    Conformity has been the bane of the human experience, and yet mastery is what we celebrate most. Mastery requires that we recognize uniqueness and encourage individuality

  4. Miwa Nakasato August 17, 2019 at 7:47 PM - Reply

    Thank you for the wonderful message. I don’t have any thoughts or motivation. Business loses people’s feelings.

  5. Leslie August 20, 2019 at 9:08 AM - Reply

    Cascading goals and ‘group think’ destroy opportunities to see new potential. Allowing individuals to thrive takes more effort, but is so rewarding for both the organization and the employee.

    Keep sending your messages!

  6. Mark Rowe August 30, 2019 at 2:21 PM - Reply

    HI Marcus- Are you still with ADP?

  7. Karren Hodgkins September 11, 2019 at 4:12 AM - Reply

    Love a well-rounded team as opposed to a well-rounded individual!

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