Seth Godin on Survival Is Not Enough, Part 3

In his book, Survival Is Not Enough: Why Smart Companies Abandon Worry and Embrace Change, Seth Godin discusses how innovative organizations and individuals can apply prudent strategies in adapting and positioning themselves for the constant changes.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 3, Fear and Zooming

In this chapter, Seth discusses the need to change our mindset on embracing changes. He offers the following observations and recommendations for us to think about:

  • There are usually four situations where people freeze in the face of making a change in organizations. They are:
    • Pressure from deadlines
    • Fatigue
    • Fear
    • Bosses who desire closure, not uncertainty
  • When organizations do want to enact changes, they often sabotage their effort by putting up two significant barriers:
    • Committees: Most organizations allow any committee member to say no to a change but require a unanimous yes for anything to move forward.
    • Critics: We are afraid of failing, and that mindset makes it easy for criticism, most of them ill-informed and unfair, to derail our effort most of the time.
  • It is not just the people. Most market-leading organizations are afraid of change. When an organization is mature and successful, it is harder for a needed change to gain traction because of the status quo and possible criticism.
  • For many people, change can feel like death. Species have evolved to avoid change or danger to survive. For a long time, we have grown to carry genes afraid of change. In the present age, one great idea is not going to kill us. We should not automatically associate change with danger.
  • Most change management approaches no longer work well. We have used change management to get ourselves out of emergencies. However, change is no longer an emergency. Change is now a regular occurrence in our daily environment.
  • To build an organization that can embrace change is to redefine change. We should create a “Zooming” practice that allows us to embrace change without causing the change-avoid gene to kick in with waves of fear and panic. If we can bypass that reflex, we can define “normal” as an environment in which new things appear regularly.