Management Outside the Box

Evolve or Die

Every organization hits a rut, falls into stagnation, and stops innovating.  Some can survive this and even continue operating for years in this state.  But those who look to the future and begin innovating stand a better chance of becoming market leaders and dominating their market.  There’s no easy way to know if it’s time to innovate or if it’s time to stay the course, but when you have an idea that might just work and set you apart from the rest of the pack it’s time to do your research and innovate.

Nature as an example

Let’s look at nature, organisms that live in an ever-changing environment have to evolve to adapt to their environment.  Those that don’t evolve die out.

An example.  The Irish Elk, an animal common to the Eurasia region went extinct approximately 7,700 years ago, and it had the largest antlers of its species at 11 feet wide.  Does generally mated with bucks that had the largest antlers because that was a sign of strength and that was the status quo.  The problem was that these large antlers made running through the forest to escape predators difficult, meaning that the bucks that were the strongest tended to be killed more frequently.  If on the other hand, the does had matted with bucks with smaller antlers then the species would have evolved to be able to survive running from predators and the species might still be with us today.

Artificial organisms

Companies, governments, ect. are all organisms, they are just artificially created.  These organizations face the same dilemma as the Irish Elk and other organisms, evolve or die.

There are two forms of orginational evolution, evolution (internal) or predation (external).  Both of these can take many forms or a combination of forms.  Let’s look at a simplified list of examples of each type.

Internal: An employee has an idea that will set your organization apart from your competitors, after doing research the plan is implemented and your organization becomes the market leader.

External: Your organization buys an organization that will set you apart from your competitors.

Combination: An employee sees an opportunity to partner with another organization in a way that will benefit both organizations.  After researching the proposal you move forward and begin the partnership leading to market advancement for both organizations.

Obviously, there are countless other combinations, but I wanted to provide a simplified list just as an example.


Organizational leaders must keep their minds open to new ideas to be able to see the opportunity to evolve their organization.  Failure to do this will lead to stagnation and ultimately death of the organization. 

If an employee comes to you with a new idea, even if it seems crazy at first, maybe give them some paid time to research and develop the idea, then you can judge if it’s worth looking into as an organization.  Not only will this lead to new ideas that will set your organization apart from your competitors, but it will also increase employee morale because you not only listened to them but gave the support to follow the idea regardless if you implemented it or not.

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