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Darwinism and Leadership

The BBC has now had three, at my count, TV programs/programmes on Darwin and his legacy, one presented by David Attenborough, one by Andrew Marr and a whole mini-series presented by a French biologist with such perfect English that you found yourself spending the whole time trying to catch some evidence of the evolution of his own language by listening for a hint, even a hint, of French mispronunciation. I didn’t find any.

All were excellent, but all told the same story and it does make you wonder about whether left hands knew what right hands were doing.

Anyway, the main thing in our head is often – usually – not the main message in the learning. Between Darwin and popular consciousness some switch is tripped that sends our train off along the wrong track.

So, it is with ‘survival of the fittest‘ that has become a mantra for tough-edged management and leadership in commercial organizations the world over.

It’s not about brute-ism and a ‘take no prisoners’ approach to capitalism.

What Darwin actually said was it’s those that are most ready to change that survive, not those that are most rigid.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

Carmine Coyote has a nice post on this – Management’s False Darwinians – over on his Slow Leadership blog.


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