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Understanding Social DNA with MDNA Gifts #BrandCulture

What is “social DNA” and why is it important for our company brand and culture?

#MDNAi #BrandCulture

The concept of social DNA is not unique to MDNA. There are many other thought leaders in various circles using the term for different applications. I thought it would be worth taking a look at our perspective when it comes to the 7 gifts of MDNA.

As you may or may not know, MDNA stands for “Motivational DNA.” Therefore we already incorporate the concept of DNA into our framework. The term “motivational” comes from our understanding and applying the social science of intrinsic motivation (also known as “Self-Determination Theory). Intrinsic motivations are expressed through our purpose, passions and potential. These intrinsic motivations make up what we call your Motivational Value System (MVS).

There are 7 possible gifts, think of them like personality profiles for patterns of different MVS, within the MDNA framework. Your gifts impact how you interact with the world. In other words, they impact how you are social. We are social creatures and since every company is run by people, companies are social as well. Companies are social in different ways with their customers (branding) and employees (culture). Again, how we are social is driven by our Motivational DNA–intrinsic motivations–hence the term “social DNA.”

Genetics and Epigenetics

One way to understand this to parallel the since of genetics and epigenetics.

In genetics, your DNA determines your traits such as whether you are male or female, have red hair or the potential to be a world-class athlete. In this way, you could say we believe in social genetics. This is how the Motivational DNA of an individual—specifically the leadership—determines the social dynamics of a group of people, especially within a company.

Just like our physical traits however, social DNA needs to be nurtured. Just because you have the right genetics, you don’t get to the Olympics without doing what it takes to unlock your potential. Beyond genetics there is the field of epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of how genes are turned on or off because of various factors such as our environment. Using the MDNA framework, we are constantly researching how to unlock the social DNA of an organization by tapping into the individual and the collective Motivational Value System.

Respect Your Social DNA

The other important thing to consider is that, although we are taught we can be and do anything we want as children, your genetics have limitations. When I was growing up, no matter how hard I trained, I just could not play certain sports to a competitive level. I was short and stalky. I was miserable when trying to jump high enough for to contest a basketball shot or spike in volleyball. But guess what? I excelled at Greco-Roman wrestling. My genetics determined a certain muscle type that allowed me to compete at a high level.

This is precisely why certain models, activities and strategies work for one company and do not for another. It’s like trying to get a wrestler to dunk a basketball. You have to respect your genetics and then nurture your potential with epigenetics. The same goes for social and motivational DNA.

Using the lens of genetics and epigenetics, at the MDNA Institute, we help organizations understand their social DNA and nurture it for desired transformation. More specifically, the Brand Culture framework is how a company uses their gifts to get customers loving their brand and employees to live that brand through culture.

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