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6    Building future first DNA into Etsy, Apple, and Nike

In April 2003, teams of scientists working around the world completed one of the greatest biological feats ever. They had created a complete map of the human genome, the complex combinations of amino acids central to the development of every human. Reading from this “book of life” helps doctors understand the genetic basis for over five thousand medical conditions. It allows pharmaceutical researchers to create drugs targeting, for example, cancerous tumors.

Mapping out organizational DNA––the common set of behaviors and core capabilities at the heart of a company––has similar benefits for leaders. It gives insight into the distinct set of qualities that determines a company’s performance, ...

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