Does Your Business Need an Evolution or a Revolution?

June 21, 2011

Many business owners find themselves hitting a wall or a block of some kind at some point along their entrepreneurial journey. In a case such as this, most entrepreneurs agree that a change needs to be made. After all, to repeat the same action over and over again and expect different results is the definition of insanity. Those who miss this point normally end up out of business. But those that realize that a change must be made also need to think about what kind of change should be made.
As far as I see it, there are two types of ideas/changes: evolutionary ones and revolutionary ones. Evolution is defined as “a process of gradual, peaceful, and progressive change.” Revolution is defined as “a sudden, complete or marked change.” (Both words are as defined by Dictionary.Com.) Though the words only differ by one letter, the definitions are quite juxtaposed by the words ‘gradual’ and ‘sudden.’ When you come to a business impasse, you must decide whether it would be better to slowly improve and work on what you currently have or to take an entirely new approach with an immediate change.
The gradual changes of evolution can definitely be a good thing; it allows people time that they need to improve upon an idea and make it better than it was before (perhaps multiple times). This gives those involved the advantage of knowing their product, person or problem and the ability to continue to improve upon what they already know. However, the main inadequacy with evolution is the slow pace. Many modern businesses don’t or won’t have time for multiple improvement cycles – they want the results yesterday. Many companies are more than willing to take the leap towards a revolutionary idea than to wait around patiently for an evolution to come full circle.
The immediate changes that occur because of a revolution can be very beneficial. Most of the best revolutionary (or disruptive) ideas give you an extreme advantage over your competitor. You can move into unknown territory with an entirely new set of ideas or thinking and leave your competition in the dust. But keep in mind that even though revolutions are the fastest ways to move forward, the outcome of that revolution is very dependent on the quality of the idea. Revolutions can be risky – or even outright dangerous. But, great revolutionary ideas do move us forward to better places.
What do your experiences say about this? Are you for evolutions or revolutions?


Picture of Alyssa Magnotti

Alyssa Magnotti