By Brian Lucas
This one’s for Wendi, who I believe is “Going Agile!”
“The facts of variability, of the struggle for existence, of adaptation to conditions, were notorious enough; but none of us had suspected that the road to the heart of the species problem lay through them, until Darwin and Wallace dispelled the darkness.” ― Thomas Henry Huxley
An extremophile is an organism that thrives in physically extreme conditions that are non-survivable to most life on the planet Earth. They are the masters of adaptability and survival. They seem to be in every extreme environment no matter how hot, cold, dry or dark and can withstand crushing pressures and thin atmospheres. What is the secret to their adaptability? This year alone, scientists found bacteria living in the cold and dark in a lake buried a half-mile deep under the ice in Antarctica. Researchers also suggested that microbial life forms thrive in the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot in the Earth’s ocean. Researchers even postulate sustainable communities of microbes living and reproducing in clouds without ever reaching the surface of our planet. These forms of life are not only highly adaptive these are ancient. According to astrophysicist Dr. Steinn Sigurdsson, “There are viable bacterial spores that have been found that are 40 million years old on Earth.
These forms of life succeed because they focus on the fundamentals and get them right. They intake raw materials, produce energy, eliminate waste and reproduce. They don’t get distracted by things that are not essential to their survival. They might not be the most sophisticated forms of life, but they have survived global cataclysms that wiped out most other forms of life. Focusing on the fundamentals is an important part of success in all walks of life. Take baseball and martial arts. When I played ball it was keep your eye on the ball. In Kung Fu it was learning to breathe correctly. Many times when I temporarily lost my focus, I returned to the basics and found myself again.
Adapting to agile thinking is not an impossible feat. Just focus on the basics of employee empowerment, customer engagement, critical features and functions only, and rapid demonstrable iterations. If extremophiles can survive unbelievably harsh conditions, surely traditional executives and managers can learn to adapt to agile thinking. After all you are smarter than a microbe, aren’t you? Until next time, keep agile!
 See Rothschild, L.J.; Mancinelli, R.L. Life in extreme environments. Nature 2001
 See Gorman, James. “Bacteria Found Deep Under Antarctic Ice, Scientists Say”. New York Times, February 6, 2013.
 See Choi, Charles Q. “Microbes Thrive in Deepest Spot on Earth”. LiveScience, March 17, 2013.
 See BBC Staff. “Impacts ‘more likely’ to have spread life from Earth”. BBC, August 23, 2011.