In this Forbes article, there is reference to an interview that Steve Levy did with Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. In the interview, Mr. Bezos makes this statement which I think really points out why Amazon has been so successful —
“We’re willing to plant seeds, let them grow—and we’re very stubborn. We say
we’re stubborn on vision and flexible on details.”
The strength of the leadership and sponsorship is hugely important to being able to keep on course when other people think you’re taking too long. Jeff Bezos, at the helm of Amazon, has conviction on where the organization needs to go and is able to effectively work with the market to make sure he gets the time he needs. Not every company is in this position, but it’s a good point that you need to think about the long term view when you’re defining what successful change looks like. And, it doesn’t hurt to have a charismatic leader!
The other aspect of this statement that really strikes me is the attitude about planting a seed, nurturing it, and remaining flexible. Michelle and I have often talked about needing to make sure that you are getting everybody ready for the change, and also that you have to be open to when your change changes. If you are taking a long term approach you’ve got a better opportunity to recognize issues and can make course adjustments as needed, while still staying in tune with the original vision.