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Adapt or die Thomas H. Douglas

How to Create Innovation, Solve People Puzzles, and Win in Business

February 26, 2023 - 558 words - 3 mins Found a typo? Edit me
leadership people

Told through the story of one bold company (People First IT), Adapt or Die takes readers through the unparalleled business system known as The Algorithm of Success that has the potential to inspire, ignite, and affect change for all aspects of an organization.

Each chapter reveals more of the winning formula that all small and midsize businesses absolutely must have to succeed. Through real examples, research, and practical tools, Adapt or Die unpacks exactly how to create innovation, solve people puzzles, and win in business.

“Leadership is about helping people adapt and leading through change so the business and its people can thrive.”

Why businesses fail?

Businesses fail because they…

  • are unable or unwilling to have courageous conversations
  • focus on money too much or too soon instead of on people
  • can provide the value themselves but can’t make it scale
  • fail to focus on people as their primary responsibility
  • focus on people, but don’t have the necessary skills to make a difference
  • listen to respond instead of listening to hear
  • think that because their idea is unique and specific, so are their issues
  • live in the business and fail to spend time on the business
  • expect thing to happen without truly leading through change
  • fail to fall in love with the truth and fight the truth instead

How to help growing your teamwork

“As a business scales, the primary focus of the owner and the leadership must shift from focusing on customers to focusing on employees.”

By having courageous conversions about the full spectrum of skills required to go to the next level, focusing on improving the personal and professional career experience for that person and the people around them.

These are the main points that everyone could develop:

  • Good communications
  • Focus & achieve goals & results
  • Everyone contributes
  • Offer each other support
  • Good leadership
  • Clear and good organization
  • Constructive conflict drives innovation

“People is not usually the root problem. The taxonomy is 3Ps: product, process, or people. And “people” is the final step because leaders need to look at product and process first. In other words, “people first” when it comes to values, but “people last” when it comes to blame.“

The Algorithm of Success

As you can see in the diagram, all of this comes under leadership. If leadership is about helping others adapt to change, then it must be core to our organizations.



  • Promises
  • Solve a problem or need
  • Cash release triggers
  • The way we create value
  • Pain or Pleasure
  • Innovation
  • Connections: Logical, emotional and competitive


  • Target customer profile (Who)
  • Value Creation Strategy (VCS)
  • Core Values
  • Shared vision
  • Value loop
  • Key processes

The Growth Engine

  • Unique selling proposition
  • Targeted marketing
  • Sales channels
  • Sales steps
  • Measuring the Growth Engine
  • Funnel & opportunity management
  • Return on Sales

The Financial Model

  • Revenue management
  • Cost of goods sold (COGS)
  • Sales and marketing costs
  • General administration
  • Categorization
  • Reporting


  • Alignment
  • People elevators
  • Problem solving
  • People banks
  • Leadership code of conduct
  • Career plans
  • One-on-one’s
  • Income managements


  • Identify the core operations
  • Responsibilities
  • Cadence management
  • Meetings
  • GSD (Get Shit Done)


  • Promises Kept
  • Downstream / Upstream
  • Accountability
  • Repeatable
  • Efficiencies

You can find the book in

270 pages