What’s very dangerous is not to evolve.
See that strange looking animal that looks like it was in the movie Avatar? It’s called a Mexican walking fish, or axolotl, and is one of the most bizarre creatures on the planet. Not just because of how it looks but because it has the distinct ability to regrow limbs. The mexican walking fish isn’t really a fish, it’s salamander and it’s closely related to frogs and other amphibians with whom they share some of the same characteristics.
Enough with biology class. Why did I put that picture in this post?
Because as bizarre a creature this is, it reminded me of how everything evolves and how different species combine or recombine themselves to form new species that adopt the abilities of others and so forth. We’re so used to seeing the same types of animals all the time that when we see something like an Axototl it seems alien to us.
The same happens in business, we get so used to seeing the same types of businesses all the time that when we see one that operates in a totally different way than the others they seem crazy to us. And you know why? Because we’re not evolving, we’re getting left behind and pretty soon the one’s that are evolving will put us out of business.
And then the cycle repeats itself. Where in the cycle are you?
I think it’s important that we be aware that we also must evolve. Consultants will tell you that you need to cannibalize your business, what they’re really trying to tell you is your business needs to evolve not because they say so but because everything changes.
To evolve doesn’t mean to grow, it means to change.
Like evolution, change doesn’t start in the mainstream where you’re sitting, it starts at the edges. Like new types of businesses, new species of animals are created at the edges and then some eventually move to the mainstream while others stay on the edge.
Do you think your dog, cat or fish has looked that way forever? Do you think your business will look the same way in 5 years? Do you think your customers will always want the same thing you’re selling? Do you think the industry/market you operate in will always exist, operating in the same way with the same players in 5 years? Do you think tomorrow is going to be the same as today?
The answer is: NO.
One last thought to remember and you knew it was coming: It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin.
Hopefully we’re all changing to stay relevant, not just in the pursuit of growth.