How Change Doesn’t Happen

Picture an egg. Day after day, it sits there. No one pays attention to it. No one notices it. Certainly no one takes a picture of it or puts it on the cover of a celebrity-focused business magazine. Then one day, the shell cracks and out jumps a chicken.

All of a sudden, the major magazines and newspapers jump on the story: “Stunning Turnaround at Egg!” and “The Chick Who Led the Breakthrough at Egg!” From the outside, the story always reads like an overnight sensation — as if the egg had suddenly and radically altered itself into a chicken.

Now picture the egg from the chicken’s point of view.

While the outside world was ignoring this seemingly dormant egg, the chicken within was evolving, growing, developing — changing. From the chicken’s point of view, the moment of breakthrough, of cracking the egg, was simply one more step in a long chain of steps that had led up to that moment. Granted, it was a big step — but it was hardly the radical transformation that it looked like from the outside.

It’s a silly analogy — but then our conventional way of looking at change is no less silly. Everyone looks for the “miracle moment” when “change happens.” But ask the good-to-great executives when change happened. They cannot pinpoint a single key event that exemplified their successful transition.

– – Jim Collins author of ‘Good to Great’

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