Seth Godin on Survival Is Not Enough, Part 11

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 10, Tactics for Accelerating Evolution

In this chapter, Seth discusses the tactics we can use to help our organization and people zoom and evolve. He offers the following observations and recommendations for us to think about:

  • A business that is not facing a life-or-death crisis does not need to slow down. Instead, it needs to hurry differently. We need to hurry to test our next winning strategy and hurry to evolve.
  • Change is not a spigot to be turned on in an emergency and then turned off when the crisis subsided. Instead, change is a constant process we need to leverage for not standing still and beating the competition.
  • Most organizations are not in the business of making stuff. Stuff is not where the successful winning strategy is built these days. We now produce more decisions instead of widgets. By embracing changes and constantly evolving, we can learn to make better decisions more often.
  • One technique for embracing change is to put an expiration date on a strategy or policy. Unfortunately, even fresh milk can expire and becomes spoiled. So why not put a mental note in place to reexamine a situation and have an alternative strategy in place before the current plan expires due to factors beyond our control?
  • There are four ways to keep an evolving organization zooming:
    • Keep the projects (or experiments) fast and cheap.
    • Hold people accountable through a quick and direct feedback loop.
    • We need leaders who can make intelligent decisions.
    • Owners make better decisions. Let people have a stake in what they do.

In summary:

“Intelligent leadership is the critical distinction between a company that zooms to success and one that just fades away.”