Are you keeping the Dodo alive?

Regardless of your views on evolution and / or creation, we all know that the Dodo is extinct. The evidence points to the bird’s demise gradually coming as it was what we’d now call an “endangered species”. It’s eventual disappearance was due to Dutch and Portuguese sailors eating the poor little suckers when they landed on Mauritius and found this cumbersome, slow moving, flightless alternative to chicken – with no apparent fear of humans or an inability to run or fly away!

So, no doubt the Dutch franchising entrepreneur of the time – Colonel Van Sanders – sealed the Dodo’s fate (along with the sailor’s rats, dogs and pigs of course, who ate all the Dodo’s eggs).

But, on a serious note – and easy with hindsight – had the Dodo changed, adapted, evolved, strategised, thought longer-term, been more agile etc etc, it may still be alive and Nando’s may have a more varied menu! Had a visionary entrepreneur seen the opportunity with the Dodo, it may have lived a bit longer than the 30 years or so that are recorded after the Dutch landings.

So, no I’ve not been on the sauce or smoking something funny, but it is an interesting analogy I think for the amount of conversations I have about businesses, teams and individuals that are stuck in their thinking and are unable to be “agile” and do their best to fight off innovation, new thinking, responding to changes in the customer journey etc and the work we do with frustrated managers to help them overcome it. As a metaphor, I’m really talking about beliefs, values, approaches, processes, thinking (it would be too emotive to suggest I’m talking about people!)

This leads me to the question then! In your business, how many Dodos are you keeping alive – and why? How often do you make allowances for dogmatic, stayed thinking because it comes from someone loyal or who’s been here a long time? How much time, effort and energy goes into battling against mind-sets that begin every sentence with “yes, but…..”?

For us the key is to understand; is the Dodo behaviour out of fear of the inevitable? Is it from a belief the change will go away? Is it purely defense? Or is it a cultural issue?

Food for thought perhaps (sorry Dodos).

Wikipedia Reference;

The word “dodo” itself has contestation to its routes. The three main candidates are either, the Dutch word “dodoor“, the Portuguese word, “duodo“, or our personal favourite, the Dutch word, “dodaars” which roughly translates as “knot-arse“. The other two words translate to “sluggard” and “fool” in their respective languages, but since sailors aren’t exactly known for the eloquence, “knot-arse” seems as likely as anything.