Monkeys and the Fruit Fly

So what gives a group life? Why is it that some companies flourish while others fail? What really determines staying power and competitive ability in an environment that provides equal challenge and equal opportunity to all? Read on…

I find it kind of ironic that Charles Darwin gets as much emotional attention today as he did when he first wrote “Origin of the Species” – maybe even more! The irony I see by the way, is non-politically charged, but refers to the way we use evolution as part of our everyday speech, in a variety of metaphors in both business and personal contexts.

Having said that – and not wanting to get into the socio-religious arguments – I really do believe that evolution as described by Darwin plays a critical role in corporate success. How?

“It is not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Charles Darwin

Think on that a minute. Frankly, I would argue that in the business sense the most intelligent person is the most open – ergo the most likely to change and ultimately the strongest, but only if in fact they drive change.

And driving change is the key. The fruit fly might “evolve” over a few short generations through forced means, but companies that don’t drive change never do, and they quickly run the risk of falling by the wayside into a landscape already littered by the bleached bones of corporate intransigence.

The examples are numerous and powerful. There were computer companies that believed that no one would ever want to have a personal computer; there were “internet” companies that believed that brick and mortar retail was dead; there were photography companies that didn’t get digital, food companies that refused to understand nutrition and car companies that didn’t understand family needs. And on and on and on… (Send me some examples).

And there you are. Evolution in business is not a passive action, and it is not just about survival – it leads to strength, growth and the future, but only if we make it so. In fact I’d argue that maybe evolution is really about revolution. Think on that…

So be open, actively promote change and become a revolutionary evolutionary!!

On Love, David Butter from Wunderman EMEA HQ recalls the Beatles – boy did they not get along (even after death…), but boy did they write songs and perform! And David admonishes, “don’t forget Ringo – always include the Ringos [in your group], and let them present, even if they sometimes sing out of tune…”

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