What do you think of when you hear the word change? No, I’m not referring to the straggling coins that we carry around in our pocket. But change—as in a sudden shift in habit, mood, or season. We inevitably experience change on a daily basis. We cry upon discovery of that first grey hair. We endure our favorite TV series ending after a number of seasons. We learn to accept that overalls may never make a comeback. We grieve when we lose a loved one. We get anxious when we have to step out of our daily routine. We rejoice in seeing close friends get married. The list goes on and on. Artists have written a number of top hit songs about change because we experience it on so many levels.
The concept of change is a hot topic here at Zappos as it is our second core value. Not only do we embrace change, but we want to drive it. This is a foreign concept to most people. Some people clam up at the thought of change because it means taking risks and stepping outside of our comfort zone. Some people chase after it, seeking the thrill that comes with the adventure. But if there is one thing that we have in common, it is that we all fear it on some level. It's like closing our eyes and walking down a path with an unknown destination. We do, however, have the opportunity to take a proactive approach and tackle it head first.
Here at Zappos, we are constantly re-evaluating the way we do things. Why change things when they are good, you ask? Sure we could keep doing the things that are working. But as our company grows, our routine way of approaching things needs to shift as well. We look at the gap between what is and what could be and find a way to bridge that gap. Yes, sometimes it is a little scary trying something new, but it’s all about taking that leap of faith.
Over the past few years, our company has taken leaps and bounds to enhance our customers’ experience, rethink the way we self-organize, and foster the entrepreneurial community here in downtown Las Vegas. Individual teams have pushed themselves to think outside of the box and have grown so much in the process.
Change is not perfect by any means. There are plenty of times when things do not work out the way a team might hope. But there are other times when having a positive mindset around change has lead to innovation. With this innovation has come great success. It is this success that continues to inspire our employees and other collaborative groups to throw a kinder eye to change.
So there are two choices we can make: We can embrace change or we can suffer through it. Instead of fearing it, let us learn to welcome it. We must desire change, knowing that good can come from it. This is not limited to the work world. Life is filled with trials and many seasons of change. They are sometimes hard to digest in the very moment, but they can often lead to incredible lessons.
We must see change as the beginning of an exciting new chapter and have faith in the adventure that follows. It doesn’t matter if you are an individual going through the roller coaster of life, a small business trying to get the ball rolling, or a big company who is already rocking and rolling.
What choice will YOU make next time you encounter change?