Adaptability: The Art of Winning in an Age of Uncertainty

Adaptability: The Art of Winning in an Age of Uncertainty

Max McKeown

Language: English

Pages: 228

ISBN: 0749465247

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This revolutionary new book harnesses the essence of human survival – the ability to adapt – to help people succeed in business and all other aspects of life.

Through natural selection, humans have adapted unconsciously to their environment. Strategy and innovation expert, Max McKeown, draws on millions of years of evolution to create a practical and strategic set of rules which take adaption from an involuntary coping strategy to a deliberate winning strategy.

To show how adaptability works McKeown looks at a rich set of examples, problems and situations. He includes the 15-year old geneticist working from his basement, and the Italian town that said no to seemingly inevitable change. Along the way, he visits the adaptation of Western technology to the social structures of sub-Saharan Africa and explores how quantum games may solve the world's trickiest problems. He looks inside global corporations like Starbucks, Netflix and McDonald's to see how they flirt with extinction, create internal barriers to adaptation, and adapt to transcend their situation.

Adaptability proves that innovation is important but not enough. Strategy, branding, marketing and operations are all useful, but insufficient. And highlights that the ability to adapt smarter and faster than the situation changes is what makes the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win. 














may also be successful or unsuccessful. There are adaptations that lead to failure for the entire social group. There are adaptations that allow the group to survive but leave people in a miserable situation. There are adaptations that improve the group’s situation in a desirable way. And there are adaptations that transcend the situation and create a whole new game. In my exploration of adaptability, there are three steps that have to be followed if there is to be deliberate adaptation that

email to employees accepting the product was ‘not up to Apple’s standards’. Apple offered free extensions to subscribers and announced a replacement service called iCloud. When asked whether it would ‘just work’ he said ‘Why should I believe them? They’re the ones that brought me MobileMe!’ Second, when it does fail, it goes back and takes a very hard look at the problems and relentlessly reworks until it becomes successful. Learning from Newton, the failed hand-held computer surfaced in the

Any seeming success increases the strength of the enemy. It is a strategic adaptation that weakens the side expending the most effort. Physical resources are wasted with every attack while mental reserves are depleted with every renewal. An example of this hydra problem faced the US strategy, or military doctrine, known as ‘shock and awe’. It was formally introduced to the lexicon in 1996 by the National Defense University. Its authors, Harlan Ullman and James Wade, were generous in their praise

remain fun-loving, curiosity-driven rock stars long after their peer group have gained grey hairs, suits and a clichéd vocabulary of nauseating corporate speak. They refuse the downsides of maturity and the longer they refuse the more successful they remain. Growth is not something adults do. Pretty much all the poster boy billionaires start out that way. Microsoft people played practical jokes, drank, partied and coded for days on end. They wanted to put a computer on every desk. They were

still start out with the deliberate intention to adapt the situation in a desirable way. The first step is to recognize the need for adaptation. It may start with something as simple as knowing something is wrong, fearing that something will go wrong, or wanting something to be better. Quite often, a lone voice, or minority, recognizes that need. A majority may even want some part of a situation to be improved; it is less common for everyone to agree on the nature of the improvement required.

Download sample