Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Survival of the fittest!

From the time Darwin proposed his theory of evolution the most favorite phrase of Managers is "Survival of the fittest"-the law of jungle is now the implicit law which drives career paths of business leaders.
While the Jungle law gives a perpective of ruthlessness one should have to succeed, it fails to recognize the more subtle but important element of evolution.
Single simple cells were the life which was originally formed...how did these simple cells become complex, integrated living things. If you review it you will know it is because they decided to co-operate. At the cost of some cells becoming redundant colloboration was established allowing life to evolve. When fish developed lungs that can breathe in land, legs that can walk etc-the cells agreed to give up something and take up something more by partnering with some other specialist cells which can perform the jobs demanded. To ignore this part of evolution is to champion destruction as colloboration and co-operation has been the core to evolution-not competition.
If we apply this to business situation-we have operating units, business units, countries,divisions, group etc. If all of them compete to show their existence is the most important and rest are incidental then you can be sure the extinction is near. Sure to be agile, adapative etc are key to survival but the most key to connect knowledge and drive the organization's collective wisdom is colloboration and not competition. It is not about who has the kingdoms and how they are bigger or better than others but it is about how kingdoms are run collectively. A lot of frustration of young achievers is due to the fact their achievements are narrowly focussed sub-optimizing something else(inventory reduction at cost of service for example). If we need to truly realize sustainable growth we need to embrace colloboration and not Survival of the fittest as what is true in green jungles is not necessarily true in the concrete jungles as we have lost a lot of intuitive instincts with our forced sixth sense.

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Gothenburg, Sweden
Still finding introspecting to find who am I? Waiting for a Guru!