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Make Change Work: Staying Nimble, Relevant, and Engaged in a World of Constant Change by Randy Pennington

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CHAPTER 4

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DODOS AND COYOTES

Only the Nimble Survive

When we are no longer able to change a situation—we are challenged to change ourselves.

—Viktor E. Frankl

IN DEFENSE OF THE DODO

The dodo bird has become the iconic symbol for failure to adapt to a changing environment. The term dodo has come to be identified with a lack of common sense and being perpetually confused.

You could say that the dodo became complacent and comfortable. Dodos, however, were not born with the brain power to understand the concept of urgency, complacency, and change. The book Jonathan Livingston Seagull1 taught the lessons of a young bird that strived to do more than fill his belly with scraps of food. But remember, that is a work of fiction.

Despite the modern connotations of being a dodo, the actual bird didn’t have much of a choice. In fact, it never saw the danger coming. The entire species became extinct less than 100 years after its discovery and first interaction with humans.

The dodo bird was approximately 1 meter (3.3 feet) tall and weighed about 20 kilograms (44 pounds). Its native environment had no natural predators. As a result, it laid its eggs on the ground. And fatefully, rather than fleeing those first sailors who landed on its native island of Mauritius, the dodo approached them out of curiosity.

Imagine you were a sailor on that first ship landing on Mauritius. Would the sight of a ...

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