Monday, December 11, 2006

Resistance To Change

Obie Fernandez comments on Seth Godin's observation that he would be a lousy pilot. Maybe this explains why I do not have a pilot's license...
Obie notes that "innovators catch the most grief from management". But why would this be the case, when management is so eager to capitalize on said innovations? Perhaps a look at anthropology can help. A few years ago I watched a fantastic program on the Discovery Channel called "Walking With Cavemen." As one review of the DVD on Amazon states, "Using real actors and actresses, amazing make-up and special effects, Professor Winston takes us through the lives and times of our remote caveman ancestors." The part that impressed me the most was a example of why Neanderthal was eventually replaced by Homo sapiens, although the two lived side by side for thousands of years.
Homo sapiens was able to learn from experience, and change behavior based on new observations. The example used in the show was that by seeing a group of scavenger birds flying in a circle in the distance, and then noting that a dead animal was in the same location where the birds had been flying, a group of homo sapiens was able to find food the next time they saw birds flying in a circle. A group of Neaderthal was unble to make the connection, and starved to death.
Consequently, homo sapiens was able to survive climate changes that caused Neanderthal to become extinct. Simply enough, our capacity to change and adapt, which is our greatest survival trait as a species, is what most people actually resist the most.

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