"Amazon was only an idea, and it had no name. The question I was asked most frequently at the time was, "What's the internet?" Blessedly, I haven't had to explain that in a long while." – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, wrote in an outgoing letter to his employees.
On February 2, 2021, Amazon's Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Bezos, announced he was stepping down. After leading the company from its inception 27 years ago, Bezos stood as an innovator and was admired by many technology enthusiasts. Andy Jassey, CEO of Amazon Web Services, will step into Bezos's role following the third quarter.
Shifts in leadership are more common than not in today's business landscape. While the shift with Amazon is undoubtedly more public, lessons can be learned for businesses going through a C-Suite and executive leadership shift.
Organizational Change Management (OCM) is the discipline that allows the business to transform with minimal disruption. Organizations that are best at OCM plan for the effects of change before they happen. With the transition of a CEO, the culture of an organization has the potential to shift. Amazon, luckily, was driven by the innovation mentality. That meaning, they were always looking at ways to adapt processes and technology.
Culture change starts at the top, though, and management needs to support employees in the shift. In an article by Forbes, Grant Freeland writes, "Culture change comes from concrete and noticeable changes in leadership behavior: what they do; who they hire; who they ask to move on; who they listen to and emulate; where they spend their time; what they talk about in meetings; what they measure; how they invest the firm's money."
Amazon can continue improving its culture or quickly spoil it by focusing too much on innovation, not enough employee experience, training, and education.
Businesses making the shift in C-Suite after decades may be facing a different kind of challenge – the shift in becoming data-driven. Investing in cloud technologies and empowering your employees to access data is the fastest path to becoming an intelligent enterprise. As Bezos states in his announcement to employees, "Keep inventing and don't despair when at first the idea looks crazy." This mentality of constant innovation and leveraging information to the business's benefit drove Amazon to success and can permeate to companies not even half of their size.
Whether an organization is going through a digital transformation or better recognizing the value of analytics, the shift to being data-driven does not happen overnight. Partnering with proven experts like CCG can support organizations with a strategy and roadmap for cloud, governance, and data and analytics.
Written by CCG, an organization in Tampa, Florida, that helps companies become more insights-driven, solve complex challenges and accelerate growth through industry-specific data and analytics solutions.
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