Tuesday, January 26, 2010

newnoise1 Darwin wears Prada

I read somewhere this week that Darwin did not say that the fittest survived. He said that those who adapted the best to change survived.

This makes much more sense to me than the notion of the fittest surviving. It also reminded me of how difficult it can be to deal with change when what changes is not to your advantage. Even if you are human and therefore, according to Darwin, extremely well equipped to deal with change.

We have come a long way since we were mostly living in the wild or on farms and had to register every detail of relevant change if we wanted to survive. There was constant change. You either understood the signs and adapted to change or got jumped by a giant panda intent on ripping your head off. Tracking footprints had its uses.

Today change has got so weird and is such a big issue that we actually need 'change management'. As if dealing with change is no longer a natural thing forming part of our inborn talent for survival.

Organizational change is orchestrated behind the scenes where mere mortals don't often get to venture into discussions unsupervised. They only watch the signs of nature to see if they will have to face the traffic home in a deluge. Therefore change hits suddenly like a spitting Cobra.

I am reading The Devil Wears Prada the nightmarish, hilarious novel by Lauren Weisberger on her year of hell working as an editorial assistant at a fashion magazine in New York. I find it amazing that she survived to tell the tale. The Panda still lurks waiting for unsuspecting humans who are today fashionably dressed in stilettos and pencil skirts wherein they can hide but not run. Camouflage had its uses.

The organization is a blitzkrieg in change management for those poor students picturing a career filled with fun and never a dull moment, glamorous to the point of . . . of throwing up in case anything goes glamorously wrong. As they soon find out. Change happens.

I am not saying organizational change is a conspiracy. Only that if you don't notice and adapt to change your predictions and reactions become less effective. Soon you won't know how the stock market will react to the discovery of a butterfly beating its wings somewhere on Mars. Then what will you do?

This is quite confusing. I will clear it up a bit as soon as I've read what Darwin had to say on change management. Watch this space . . .


  1. Handling change will be a function of survival of the fittest, when it comes to technology in the workspace. Those who cannot addapt to the changing technology, such as email, Internet and the vast technological changes those two things bring, will be left by the wayside. They will have won the Corporate Darwin Award.

  2. Change itself has changed. To be conservative today is to miss the whole point, for conservatism means standing in the flow of the status quo and the status quo no longer belongs to us. Point is if you have a new world, you need a new organisation. Try and face a radical new future.

  3. You make change sound like a breath of fresh air. Radical is the word.

  4. Problem is we remain comfortable with the world as we knew it and are unwilling to give it up for something new and unknown. Ordinary thinking people must unleash an earthquake of radical, revolutionary change. Text technology (networking sites) have already "dehumanised" society leaving us with the trauma of transient relationships. Adieu.