The Better Adapted You Are, the Less Adaptable You Tend To Be
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin
I was skimming Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully and I came across this nugget:
“…Many years ago, Sir Ronald Fisher noted that every biological system had to face the problem of present versus future, and that the future was always less certain than the present. To survive, a species had to do well today, but not so well that it didn’t allow for possible change tomorrow. His Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection said that the more adapted an organism was to present conditions, the less adaptable it tended to be to unknown future conditions. We can apply the theorem to individuals, small groups of people, large organizations, organizations of people and machines, and even complex systems of machinery, and can generalize it as follows: The better adapted you are, the less adaptable you tend to be…”
Source: Gerald M. Weinberg, The Secrets of Consulting (New York, Dorset House Publishing, 1985) pp 29-30
Along the same lines, I was scanning Lean Software Engineering and came across this nugget:
“… When it comes to large-scale, creative engineering, the right processes for all the various teams in an organization depends on both people and situation — both of which are constantly changing. You can’t just adopt a particular process and be done with it. So really the only “bad process” is one that doesn’t provide framework to reflect and permission to adapt…”
Source: Avoid Dogma When Herding Cats
This reminded me of a quote from Hereclitus – “Nothing endures but change.”
I’m a fan of adaptability and continuous improvement. I think adaptability is a key ingredient for effectiveness. I regularly reflect on and test how adaptable is my mindset? … my approach? … my tools? … my teams? … my organization? … my company? … etc.
Photo by lu lu.