Wednesday, 7 January 2009


Browsing through the blogosphere, we found welcome to optimism, a blog about life at the London-based advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy. There, we learned about Yvon Chouinard and his book, "Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman" and thought of sharing a quote/ thought for the year ahead from it:

"The owners and managers of a business that wants to be around for the next hundred years had better love change. The most important mandate for a manager in a dynamic company is to instigate change. In his book 'The Beak of the Finch'Jonathan Weiner talks about an insect that was found preserved in amber. The specimen, millions of years old, is identical in appearance to that species living today - with one big difference. The present-day insect had developed the ability to shed its legs and regenerate new ones after touching plants covered with pesticides. Surprisingly, this ability has evolved just since the time of World War II, when pesticide use began. The lesson to be learned is that evolution (change) doesn't happen without stress, and it can happen quickly."

He goes on to say:

"Just as doing risk sports will create stresses that lead to bettering of one's self, so should a company constantly stress itself in order to grow. Our company has always done its best work whenever we've had a crisis. I've never been so proud of our employees as in 1994, when the entire company was mobilized to change over from using traditional cotton to organically grown by 1996. It was a crisis that led to writing down our philosophies. When there is no crisis, the wise leader or CEO will invent one. Not by crying wolf but by challenging the employees with change.

As Bob Dylan says, "He not busy being born is busy dying."

New employees coming into a company with a strong culture and values may think that they shouldn't rock the boat and shouldn't challenge the status quo. On the contrary, while values should never change, every organization, business, government, or religion must be adaptive and resilient and constantly embrace new ideas and methods of operation."

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