The word adaptation is the most commonly used word in the corporate world.  Corporate and its people need to adapt with time, adapt to new realities….etc are the common slogans one can hear in any corporate.  The most unfortunate truth is that the real meaning of the word adaptation is yet to be understood in the right perspective by most corporate.


In nature, perhaps two types of adaptations can be seen.  Adaptation to survive and adaptation for success are the two types of distinct evolutionary changes have happened and are happening in many species.  Why two separate and distinct changes when the end purpose is one and the same? 


The term ‘success’ in evolutionary parlance is not referred to the ‘success’ of human definition but more it related to the biological meaning.  Only when the basic survival needs are fulfilled or met with, the success needs can be pursued.  Certain animals adapt for just to meet the survival needs while other species progressively evolve to become very successful in the ecosystem.  Corporate needs to understand the difference between the above two types of adaptations.  Many corporate despite reaching a considerable size in the market place tends to adapt continuously just to meet the very survival needs and not for success needs as hardly they could differentiate either.


Every corporate must have the preparedness to adapt for the just survival needs as well but the evolution of adaptation should not focus or limited to the above need alone.  For example, many big corporate like P&G or Unilever or Garnier had entered into the mass market with sachet shampoos may be after getting inspired by some organization and although such move can be defined as adaptation for survival at that point in time, but they never limited their growth with such market alone.  They also brought out many premium products like Olay or Dove.  The Unilever, Garnier and P&G have elevated the dignity and aspiration of the users of such products both in the rural as well as in the urban segment. 


When the adaptation is confined just to the survival needs, the corporate may suffer with time and its growth would become distorted and disorganized.  The message is not against the corporate entering into the rural market with smaller SKU’s, but they should elevate the dignity and social respect of the customers of their products with time.  That is only called ‘adaptation for success’.  


Certain species of frogs inAntarcticafreeze and almost crystallize during winter.  Absolutely no life activities can be seen in the frogs during such situation.  With the return of favourable season, the frog gets back to its active life.  It is indeed an amazing adaptation.  But this adaptation is strictly happening just for the survival need.   On the contrary, the adaptation seen in crows or monkeys or in some other animals likes migratory birds are finest examples for adaptation for success. 


Corporate must know the bitter truth that mere adaptation will never assure success.  Whether the corporate is adapting again and again for survival or for success has to be understood and questioned.    

Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai
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