Cover image for Survival is not enough : zooming, evolution, and the future of your company
Survival is not enough : zooming, evolution, and the future of your company
Godin, Seth.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : The Free Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xvii, 265 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


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HD58.8 .G59 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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It's come to this. All the confusion and chaos and change and turmoil in our working lives have finally tipped the balance. We now need a new way of doing business.Every generation sees a fundamental change in the way we organize to do work. From Frederick Taylor's classic Principles of Scientific Management (1914) to Henry Ford's assembly line, from The Organization Man (1956) to In Search of Excellence (1982), our businesses reflect the times in which we live. Survival Is Not Enough is the next big step.Most of us view change as a threat, and survival as the goal. Yet we work too hard to consider just getting by as our primary goal. In Survival Is Not Enough, bestselling author Seth Godin provides a groundbreaking new way to organize companies to thrive during times of change. It contains a simple yet revolutionary idea: We can evolve our companies the same way nature evolves a species.Darwin was right. Evolution is a fundamental force of nature, and Godin demonstrates how this force can be unleashed in any organization. The first step is to eliminate the anti-change reflex that's genetically coded into all of us. Once a company learns to "zoom" (embrace change without pain), it is much more likely to evolve. And a company that evolves can become ever more profitable.Whether the market is up or down, whether technology is hot or not, in all industries, from retail to tech to restaurants, the organic approach to organizations described in this book will always outperform the competition. As long as our world is unstable, evolving businesses will win.

Author Notes

Bestselling business book author, entrepreneur, and speaker Seth Godin was born on July 10, 1960. He graduated from Tufts University in 1982 and earned an MBA in marketing from Stanford Business School. Godin worked as a brand manager for Spinnaker Software and founded his own book packaging business, followed by the online marketing company Yoyodyne. He was a vice president of direct marketing for Yahoo, and in 2006 he launched the popular community website Squidoo.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In his follow-up to the popular e-book Unleashing the Ideavirus, marketing guru Seth Godin uses Darwin's theory of evolution as an extended metaphor for how companies have to constantly change in order to adapt to unstable economic environments. Survival Is Not Enough: Zooming Evolution, and the Future of Your Company maintains that in these uncertain times, business owners have to constantly tinker with their marketing, products, and personnel, even if they've already discovered some successful strategies. While he lays the metaphors on a little thick, Godin's otherwise clear, crackling prose and real-life examples make the book an engaging read. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Godin (Unleashing the Ideavirus) takes a refreshing new approach to understanding change by applying principles of evolutionary biology in business change efforts. He presents a groundbreaking new way to organize companies to thrive during times of change; his idea that companies can evolve the same way species naturally evolve is simple yet significantly different from previous works. His prescription for business survival, a concept defined as "zooming" or stretching limits without threatening an organization's foundation, is based on his notion that meme DNA, the fundamental ideas, procedures, and policies that determine all that goes on inside an organization, must change before the business can change. Godin provides a high-level, cerebral menu of new ways of thinking about change that will best relate to senior-level executives. The author's solid, steady narration gives listeners the emotional strength to discontinue insulating themselves from change and be willing to propagate a modified organization in order to thrive in the future. Highly recommended for university libraries supporting a business curriculum.-Dale Farris, Groves, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Charles Darwin
Forewordp. xv
Introduction: More Than Survivalp. 1
The Paul Orfalea Story: A Process, Not a Planp. 4
Survival Is Not Enough: The Summaryp. 6
Chapter 1 Changep. 9
Guillotine or Rack?p. 9
Frantic at Work?p. 11
Businesses That Don't Change Are in Dangerp. 14
Change Is the New Normalp. 15
What Happens When the Jaguars Die?p. 18
The Problem with Factoriesp. 19
What's the Internet Got to Do with the Chaos?p. 21
Successful Businesses Hate Changep. 23
The Promise of Positive Feedback Loops and Runawayp. 25
Runaway Can't Last Forever--Nothing Doesp. 27
The Best Form of Runaway Is the Least Obviousp. 28
The Evolution Alternativep. 29
Chapter 2 What Every CEO Needs to Know About Evolutionp. 31
Competition Drives Changep. 31
The Big Ideasp. 32
What's a Meme?p. 33
Memes Are Not the Same As Genesp. 37
Periodicity in Memesp. 38
Genes versus Memesp. 40
Denying Evolution Doesn't Make It Go Awayp. 43
Chapter 3 Fear and Zoomingp. 47
Four Reasons People Freeze in the Face of Changep. 47
The First Barrier to Change: Committeesp. 48
The Second Barrier to Change: Criticsp. 49
Market Leaders Are Afraid of Failingp. 52
Change Equals Deathp. 54
Why Change Management Doesn't Workp. 56
The Way to Build an Organization That Can Embrace Change Is to Redefine Changep. 57
Chapter 4 Do You Zoom?p. 59
Start Zooming Before the Crisis Comesp. 63
What About the Creative Corporation?p. 64
Zoom First and Ask Questions Laterp. 65
Comparing Zooming to Re-engineeringp. 67
Avoid the Dragon, Don't Slay Itp. 68
Which Sort of Pain Are You Going to Feel?p. 69
Chapter 5 Your Company Has mDNAp. 71
The Vocabulary of Genes and Memes in Nature and at Workp. 71
The Power of the Metaphorp. 73
Why Evolution Worksp. 75
Companies Evolvep. 77
Evolution from the Ground Upp. 79
The Red Queen Goes to Workp. 82
One Good Reason That CEOs Reject Evolution as an Alternative--and Why They're Wrongp. 85
CEOs Enjoy Picking Lottery Numbersp. 88
Evolution at Wal-Martp. 91
Natural Selection and Artificial Selectionp. 93
Runaway Times Tenp. 95
Is Incremental Change Enough?p. 97
Chapter 6 Winning Strategies, Getting Unstuck and Sexp. 101
Typing in Francep. 101
The Winning Strategyp. 102
The Stuck Winning Strategyp. 107
Competent People Embrace the Current Winning Strategyp. 109
Piling On to the New Winning Strategyp. 111
Extinction as a Way of Lifep. 112
Sexual Selection at Workp. 113
Six Ways Companies Can Use Signaling Strategiesp. 117
Your Most Important Sex Is with Your Bossp. 118
Embracing New mDNAp. 120
Sex Is Importantp. 123
Artificially Selecting the mDNA in Your Company (aka Firing People)p. 125
Choose Your Customers, Choose Your Futurep. 127
Chapter 7 Serfs, Farmers, Hunters and Wizardsp. 129
The Danger of Role Modelsp. 129
Amazon Tweaks and Tests While Wal-Mart Strugglesp. 130
Wizards, Hunters, Farmers and Serfsp. 133
The Life of a Serfp. 135
Why Do Companies Hire Serfs?p. 136
The End of the Serf Erap. 137
Transforming Serfs into Farmersp. 138
Let Some of the Serfs Work Somewhere Elsep. 140
Farmers Know How to Tweakp. 142
Amazon Knows How to Farmp. 143
QVC Outfarms Amazonp. 144
Think Like a Waiterp. 145
Hunters Don't Own Landp. 148
AOL Knows How to Huntp. 149
Fast Feedback Loops for Huntersp. 150
Plenty of Companies Have No Clue How to Huntp. 152
Choose Your Employees, Choose Your Futurep. 153
Wizards Inventp. 154
In Defense of Slackp. 155
Chapter 8 The Basic Building Block Is Peoplep. 161
It Starts and Ends with the Individualp. 161
Changing Your Personal mDNA: Bad News from My Sisterp. 163
Find a Great Bossp. 165
If You Want the Soup, Order the Soupp. 166
Starting Down the Road to the Zooming Organizationp. 168
The Best Way to Stop Your Company from Zoomingp. 170
The Zooming Clubp. 171
A Quick Lesson in Avoiding the Acquisition Trapp. 172
Chapter 9 Why It Works Now: Fast Feedback and Cheap Projectsp. 175
Fast Feedback Loopsp. 175
The Power of the Obligating Questionp. 179
Linux Is Cool--But It's Not What You Thinkp. 180
Technology and Fast Feedback Loopsp. 182
I'll Know It When I See It--The Power of Prototypesp. 183
A Prototyping Pitfallp. 185
Data Is Not Information--Keeping the Promise of ITp. 187
Putting a Man on the Moonp. 188
A Broken Feedback Loopp. 190
Implementing Hotwashp. 192
Plan for Success ... and Plan for Failurep. 194
Chapter 10 Tactics for Accelerating Evolutionp. 197
Cherish the Charrettep. 197
Animals Evolve on a Regular Schedulep. 198
Bring Back Model Yearsp. 199
Alternate the Teams that Work on New Modelsp. 200
Better Beats Perfectp. 202
Slow Down Is Not the Opposite of Hurry Upp. 202
What to Do If Your People Get Stuckp. 204
One Thing Worth Stealing from the Supermarketp. 206
The Eternal Web Pagep. 208
Everybody Brainstormsp. 209
The Suggestion Box Is Not Deadp. 210
Take the Dumpster Testp. 211
Living with Broken Windowsp. 212
Let's Test It!p. 213
Should There Be a Statute of Limitations on mDNA?p. 215
Does Chaos Outside Mean Chaos Inside?p. 217
Focus Is No Longer Sufficientp. 219
Bringing It All Together: Decision Time at Environmental Defensep. 221
The Uber Strategy?p. 227
The Important Questionsp. 229
Why?p. 229
How do you respond to small, irrelevant changes?p. 229
How many people have to say "yes" to a significant change?p. 229
Do you have multiple projects in development that bet on conflicting sides of a possible outcome?p. 230
Are you building the five elements of an evolving organization?p. 230
Are you investing in techniques that encourage fast memetic evolution?p. 231
What does someone need to do to get fired?p. 231
Who are the three most powerful people standing between things that need to change and actual action by your company?p. 232
What if you fired those people?p. 232
What's your company's winning strategy?p. 232
Is each manager required to have her staff spend a portion of their time on creating the future?p. 232
Are you (personally) a serf, a farmer, a hunter or a wizard?p. 232
What about the people you work with every day?p. 232
If you quit your job today, could you get a decent job as a farmer or a hunter?p. 233
If you could hire anyone in the world to help your company, who would it be?p. 233
What's stopping you from hiring someone that good?p. 233
If an omniscient wizard walked into your offices and described the future and told you what to do to prepare for it, would your company be able to change in responset to his vision?p. 233
How can your company dramatically lower the cost of launching a test?p. 233
Are there five areas in your company that would benefit from fast feedback loops?p. 234
Are you building all your systems around testing and ignorance?p. 234
Are you hiding from the market?p. 234
Have you ever tried sushi?p. 235
If you could acquire another company's mDNA, whose would you choose?p. 235
Why don't you do that?p. 235
Are the economies of scale really as big as you think they are?p. 235
Is this project going to benefit from the learning it creates?p. 235
In what markets could your marketing efforts enter runaway?p. 236
How much time does senior management spend with unhappy customers?p. 236
What do you do with complaint letters?p. 236
What are you measuring?p. 236
Are you being selfish with your personal mDNA?p. 236
Have you institutionalized the process of sharing what you learn?p. 237
Are you focusing too much?p. 237
Are you the first choice among job seekers who have the mDNA you seek?p. 238
Are you the first choice among employers that have the winning strategy you seek?p. 238
What do you need to do to become the first choice?p. 238
Do you zoom?p. 238
Glossaryp. 239
Author's Notep. 249
Morep. 250
Acknowledgmentsp. 251
Indexp. 253