The secret to success is adaptability
I’m a huge fan of Amazon and you can often hear me saying ‘Amazon is taking over the world.’ This week they held their annual sale, Amazon Prime, which has quickly established itself as one of the most popular shopping events of the year. Amazon impresses me for many reasons but I must say I’m really impressed by the fact that the company has really shaken up many industries and there doesn’t seem to be an area or line of business they don’t play in.
I recently discovered Prime Read, a private library for Prime members that lets you read for free. I have now added this to the list of Amazon things I use in addition to Amazon Prime, Prime Video and Amazon Music. I’m aware of the impact that Amazon has on things I love like the library and small businesses, and yet I can’t stop myself from using what they offer.
I’m also fascinated by the company’s origins. What first started as an online marketplace for books has since expanded to include just about everything even space exploration! In today’s world the competition is fierce. Companies are no longer competing with others in their industries, instead disrupters are often new entrants or businesses that do other things like e-commerce, really well. Amazon is one of the biggest disrupters and there are countless factors that can be attributed to this, but their ability to be adaptable is one that I believe is propelling them to take over the world. Here’s why.
They dream big and they move quickly. They have adapted time and time again to meet increasing customer demands and do not restrict themselves from entering new markets and launching new products. They have literally touched almost all industries and are significantly impacting how businesses operate today. A great example of this is Amazon Prime which started as an annual sale for Amazon Prime customers, but has turned into an event that competes with the likes of Black Friday and Boxing Day. It now also includes sales from many of its competitors like Walmart and Canadian Tire.
They have truly leveraged AI to support their business growth and operations. They use AI to predict what customers want and how frequently they need it. In fact, I’ve heard that there will be a day where we will no longer need to choose what to buy, but that these sorts of decisions will be made for us. That’s crazy to think! What’s more is they leverage all of this data as a key driver to their strategy and business development.
Instead of being good at one thing, they are good at many things and are continuously learning how to do new things. A great example is Blue Origin, Amazon’s aerospace manufacturer. Even in this niche market that includes many unknowns and new ventures, they are committed to achieving their mission to build a road to space so our children can build a future. How will they do this? We’ll have to wait and see.
Change is at the heart of what they do and they’re embracing it. They look at strategy from a different lens and don’t limit themselves to taking a defensive approach. Most importantly, they are always looking to lead and aren’t afraid to fail. A recent article from Business Insider even quotes Jeff Bezo’s saying that Amazon has had failures worth billions of dollars. If you read through the whole article, Bezo’s perspective on failure is very clear. You aren’t successful unless you are also failing. This is particularly interesting to me because there are still many organizations and managers that do not look at failure in this way and this must change.
“What really matters is, companies that don’t continue to experiment, companies that don’t embrace failure, they eventually get in a desperate position where the only thing they can do is a Hail Mary bet at the very end of their corporate existence,” Bezos told Business Insider’s Henry Blodget in a 2014 interview.
5. Adaptability is part of their DNA. As noted above, culturally they embrace failure from the top. They also encourage risk taking, innovation, flexibility and continuous learning. Finally, they recognize that customers are in the driving seat and have developed a customer centric business model that is woven within everything that they do.
With the pace of change occurring like we have never seen before, what can everyone learn from Amazon? That adaptability is the key to long-term success and sustainability. To thrive and be successful for the long-term, businesses must get used to change and need to begin thinking about what they need to do to become adaptable. It’s not going to be easy, but the road to success never is.
Siri Maldonado Director of Marketing & Communications Toronto