Growing up in the 70s and 80s, one of my favourite programmes was Take Hart. Presented by the wonderfully talented Tony Hart, it inspired the inner artist and creative in children across the UK. Along with its hands-on art tuition, the show featured a mischievous character by the name of Morph, a plasticine figure brought to life by stop frame animation.
Morph had one amazing skill. He could magically change shape to get out of any problem or get past any obstacle. He was also able to replicate the shape of other items to go undetected or to benefit from being included in something good. He was a fast thinker and his agility in adapting to the situation managed to keep him out of trouble…just!
Spotting my enjoyment of Morph, my father - always the educator - asked me if I knew what the word morph meant. Beyond the plasticine character, I really didn’t know. My father explained to me the origin of the word - meaning shape and then introduced me to the term metamorphosis, whose Greek derivation is meta-morph-osis translated as change-shape-process or metamorphosis - the processes of changing shape.
He illustrated further from nature and the life of the caterpillar. The hungry caterpillar plods along in life from food source to food source. Eating, growing and gaining nutrients until something magical happens. The caterpillar stops eating, anchors onto a branch and forms a protective chrysalis around itself. Inside begins the process of not only changing shape, but of changing species. The caterpillar goes through metamorphosis and becomes a beautiful and colourful butterfly capable of flight. It undergoes this transformation for one simple reason. As a caterpillar it is unable to reproduce. It is forced to metamorphose for the continuation of its kind, the survival of the species.
Evolution, adaptation, change for survival - metamorphosis shouldn’t be a process exclusively for caterpillars or plasticine characters. The process of metamorphosis is something that every entrepreneur and business needs to adopt and practice. The coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharp focus a number of challenges that businesses, products and services face. It has viciously tested weaknesses and exposed the soft underbelly of many an enterprise.
For those with businesses at this time, many have advocated the process of ‘mothballing’ the company. In essence, deactivating the business and taking measures to prevent deterioration then, at a later stage, blow the dust off it and fire it back up into service.
I have a different view and would encourage many to take a different approach - embrace the process of metamorphosis!
Treat this time as one of opportunity to take your business into a metaphorical chrysalis. Assess your customers, market pain points, macro and micro economic, societal and other factors. Be agile, change approach, change offering, change shape. In the safety of your chrysalis, transform your business through metamorphosis. Take it to the point where, it and you, are ready when the time is right, to spread your wings and take flight. By doing so, you might just secure your company’s survival.Back to all blogs