Genesis stories tell about beginnings, foundations and how things got started.
Organizations sometimes begin with the founders having clear intent. Other companies start with a clear purpose and vision.
Companies often go through stages in their growth and genesis and re-genesis may occur multiple times are they are ‘reborn’ in new forms. Genesis stories may thus appear about significant change.
Genesis stories may also be told about the start of a new division, setting up in new countries, developing new products and anything that gave a sense of ‘new’ and which directly led to greater things.
You may know HP as one of the greats that started in a garage, but did you know that in 1938, Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett began part-time work in a rented garage with US$538 in working capital, consisting of cash and a used drill press? Drawing on Bill’s study of negative feedback, Bill and Dave produced HP’s first product, the resistance-capacitance audio oscillator, used to test sound equipment. They named it the HP Model 200A.
When a small company is acquired by a large company, genesis and re-genesis story are told about their origins and their new birth in the larger organization.
Genesis stories give organizations a sense of history and belonging. They echo the importance that humans put on the date and place of their birth and the period of their early upbringing.
They also show founders as human explorers or heroic visionaries. The people involved in the genesis, including early employees, achieve the status of company elders through such stories.
Early employees are often informal company historians and feel it a duty to spread genesis and other stories.