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Think assimilation, think Star Trek and the Borg.

Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger

An encounter with the Borg always starts the same way. “ We are the Borg, you will be assimilated, resistance is futile”. They assimilate races and their technology. Making them technologically “ superior” and irresistible. In appearance they are part humanoid part machine making them physically strong and sharing the same thoughts they are quick to adapt , making them a formable foe. Their hive mentally means they are incapable of independent thought , their purpose to serve the Queen who controls them. They do not know fear or doubt or experience loneliness.

Contrast this with the federation who are an, often uneasy, alliance of many races who struggle to speak with one voice and who value independence  and a richly diverse culture. In many ways they are inefficient, duplicating effort and struggling to communicate effectively but they are creative , inventive, curious and capable of cooperation.

When I think about assimilation I think of the Borg. I think of large organisations who speak of ,” One Organisation” and ,” One Mission” , where the leader values, “ loyalty “ above all else, where the goal is efficiency, where dissent is not tolerated and initiative is discouraged. In such an organisation the leader thinks if only they had the power of the Borg Queen  then much needed  changes could be made quickly and smoothly.

When I think of integration I think of the Federation. I think of a large complex organisation trying to identify common aims and objectives and shared priorities. An organisation that aims to be effective , so encourages initiative and innovation, promotes cooperation and where the leadership seeks to inspire.

There are two types of organisations those that seek to assimilate and those that aspire to integrate. Most organisations are a hybrid they operate somewhere between the two.

The type of business, economic circumstances and fashion edges an organisation towards one end or the other. Both types of organisation may see the advantage in a diverse workforce but the experience of working in one type will be very different from another. Both organisations want your skills and knowledge, that’s all one wants the other is interested in you, your beliefs and values your experiences outside of work, you as a person.

Being a square peg in a round whole is never comfortable but perhaps you can be more of your real self in an organisation  that leans towards integration.

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