That’s a pretty impressive accolade considering that many people – including some of these same peers – believed his business model was destined to failure when he launched Amazon (as Cadabra) not even a decade ago.
Yes, He Built That: Bezos incorporated his dream company in July 1994, and the website now known as the world’s top internet retail destination went online as Amazon.com in 1995. Amazon now employs over 88,000 people and generated annual revenues of over $60 Billion in 2012.
The hallmarks of Bezos’ leadership style have been innovation, customer service and maintaining a long-term focus.
A Radical in a Suit: I believe he’s one of the world’s premier Change Agents and we can all take a cue from him.
Today’s discussion introduces one of my favorite Jeff Bezos quotes and offers a few insights Change Agents can draw from it.
His quote refers to the addictive power of shiny objects:
Change Agent Take-Away: There’s a common negative phrase that often pops up during failed change initiatives. It’s called “Flavor of the Month”. This disparaging term is meant to describe a shiny new idea that “the boss has fallen in love with”. The problem is that the boss falls in love with some new idea every month – and these ideas rarely get fully implemented.
With “flavor of the month” changes, there could be a lot of loud and impressive rhetoric shared at the launch event, but not a lot of clear rationale. The flash of attention and hand-waving can mask holes in the business case.
Even though the shiny new idea is made to sound super-important and everything else is shoved aside to make room for the new concept, everyone knows the romance won’t last.
It Won’t Last: The track record of follow-through is all the average employee needs to see in order to decide to postpone jumping on the bandwagon. Of course the results of this type of change are usually poor. Worse yet, people start to ignore future changes in hopes that they will just blow over like a spring rain shower.
The boss will lose focus. Other priorities will crowd the change out. A different hot idea will catch the leader’s eye next month – so the shiny change can safely be ignored.
6. Collect Data: Insist that you be allowed to gather real data on change adoption. (Here’s an earlier post on this subject called “Data is King”.)
- Have you been a victim of “flavor of the month” change?
- What has worked for you as a Change Agent to ensure that your change doesn’t stall out before the implementation is complete?
- Have you ever found it intimidating to question the “boss” about the logic behind a change?