Leadership and Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

published in: Leadership

09 Jul

The great insight of Charles Darwin is that species evolve in the process of random genetic mutation (untargeted changes) and natural selection.  As a result of constant changes in the environment better adapted species survive while worse adapted - die (note that size doesn’t matter).

In business, it’s not that different - survive and thrive those that adapt rapidly.
In the book "Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Poras, said: "Researching the history of vision-oriented companies, we were impressed by the fact that they have made their most successful moves not by precise strategic planning, but through experiments and mistakes by taking advantage of timing, literally, thanks to the chance.  What appears at first glance to be a brilliant strategy, often is a result of experimentation and purposeful coincidences.
Unlike definining the vision, the evolutionary process (random mutations) in the company is slow and continuous process.  This process is possible only if we offer employees the freedom to work independently.  Such freedom will bring errors but these errors are negligible compared to the error the management to take dictatorial position and to dictate employees’ every action.  Without enterprising staffno company can evolve.

Remark: Leaders must be uncompromising to errors caused by negligent treatment, failure to follow established work processes, evil intent and others, but must be endlessly tolerant to errors caused by experimenting with the unknown.

leadership, leader, evolution process
Scheme 1.  The Evolutionary Process in the company.  First, add enough tree branches (amendments, experiments, new small businesses), second, collaborating with the market, trim the unnecessary onesThe aim is to get many strong, well-located branches to survive in a constantly changing environment.

Being by nature a creative process, the untargeted changes in the company can be facilitated by its leaders if they:
  • Listen any original idea, no matter how absurd it seems at first glance.
  • Hire talented employees and leave them alone.
  • Encourage and allow people to pursue their idea.
  • Encourage experimentation.
  • Test the developed idea - and soon.



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