Beached Whale: Staying Afloat in a Sea of Innovation


"Beached Whale: Learning to Swim in the New Ocean" is a short guide to breaking up out of your business' "comfort zone". As author Dr. Daren Martin points out, comfort zones can destroy a business as it faces the disruption of the future. Breaking out of these comfort zones involves maintaining a culture that is adaptive, learning, and transparent. If you need help taking those fist steps, this book will show you how.

Beached Whale: Staying Afloat in a Sea of Innovation

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As a business owner, you understand disruptive change is the new norm. Businesses can no longer rest on their laurels, assured their customers or competitors will remain in the same place. Competition has gone global and customers can now literally leave with a click. To complicate matters even further, businesses have to keep up with an ever-increasing array of technology just to stay relevant. Beached Whale: Learning to Swim in the New Ocean is an urgent call-to-action for business leaders to shape up for the new digital world or risk losing it all.

What is Beached Whale About?

Dr. Daren Martin uses the analogy of a stranded denizen of the deep in his book Beached Whale as a metaphor for businesses that have a work culture that stifles innovation. Business owners need to realize that a “beached whale” business can’t work in this fast-paced economy, Martin explains. Businesses can no longer rely on controlling the message. Customers will get involved, whether you like it or not. If a customer or supplier has a horrible experience with your business, they can literally tell the world with a click about it. Competitors will get involved too. If your product or service takes months to release, another company can create it faster. If a customer finds a coupon from your competitor, they can leave your business with a click.

It can be a scary world if you are a “beached whale business”.

“Beached whale” businesses don’t start off that way. They become “beached whales” as a result of success. As a business grows and develops, leaders and their workers naturally create (official and unofficial) rules to maintain that success. This is perfectly fine. The problem occurs when a business’ workers get mentally “stuck” in these rules and ways of doing business. They stop going the extra mile because they believe the future will remain the same. The focus is on stability, not innovation.

The problem is, the future we’re facing is not predictable.

Beached Whale was written to help business leaders recognize the signs of a “beached whale” business so they can see ahead of time before it’s too late. Trying to innovate at that point will take more effort than moving a beached whale back into the ocean.

Martin is an author, speaker and consultant with a Ph.D. in Psychology. Growing up in Louisiana, he spent the majority of his time in Asia. And while pursuing his Master’s degree in psychology, he started a business which he maintained for 20 years. After selling that business to a Fortune 500 company, Martin began dedicating his time to sharing the information he has learned with others.

Martin is also the author of “A Company of Owners: Maximizing Employee Engagement“, another book reviewed on Small Business Trends.

What Was Best About Beached Whale?

Many books on the topic of business innovation and culture can get rather detailed (and boring in some cases), but Martin’s books always offer a unique and creative spin. Unlike other books on the topic, you won’t find complicated models or diagrams. But you will find illustrations of hand-drawn whales (OK, lots of whales) and text in digestible chunks on the right page. This unique setup makes for a quick, but effective read. Martin managed to take a metaphor, illustrations, and his knowledge and turn it into a powerful call-to-action.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

The downside of a book like Beached Whale is that it won’t give you a straightforward plan or model for innovation. Beached Whale is principle-based. The book will identify some of the principles that should be present in an innovative work culture, but it doesn’t provide a way for readers to go there. That doesn’t seem to be the point, however. The point of “Beached Whale” is to give you an overview of the mindset and workplace culture you should strive for in the future.

Why Read Beached Whale?

Beached Whale is best suited for the business leader who is starting to feel overwhelmed by innovation. He or she might have read a few books about it and come away asking “How do I avoid falling behind?” Beached Whale offers a cleverly illustrated answer to that question. The book does away with all of those complicated questions and focuses on the key issue on the radar of every business expert, workplace culture. If you want the first steps to creating an innovative workplace, this book can be a starting point. It covers a broad array of issues within the topic of workplace culture in digestible chunks of knowledge that can get you started on the right path.

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1 Comment ▼

Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.

One Reaction
  1. Awesome review!