Survival: Not Mandatory

W. Edwards Denning is known for a number of things, notably for his efforts in post-war Japan and transforming it into an economic leader. His process(es) and contributions were based on these 4 things:

  1. Better design of products to improve service
  2. Higher level of uniform product quality
  3. Improvement of product testing in the workplace and in research centers
  4. Greater sales through side [global] markets

I can think of many organizations and teams that could consider these principles and apply them liberally throughout.

But, he’s also known for a few choice quotes as well, one that I was reminded of via a conversation last week:

It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.

I’m not sure if this is a rephrase in another context, but he said something similar as well here, same gist:

Learning is not compulsory… neither is survival.

I have thought a lot about this and how we are often completely unmotivated to learn or change. In fact, it’s frightening how close-minded we all are (and I think those that think they have no issue are the most in danger).

Learning is not compulsory. Change is not necessary. But, if we’re to do greater things we must do both. It’s not without cost.


Originally published at John Saddington.