A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how Jeff Bezos creates opportunity for vast discovery at Amazon (my post Amazon Drives Innovation by Creating Opportunities for Vast Discovery). I had actually been working on this post at the time when I found a great quote from Bezos on the culture of “pioneering” that he was trying to create at Amazon. It made for such a great story that I just had to run with it and push this story aside. Well, Bezos has done it again. He threw the world another curveball yesterday with the announcement that he is purchasing The Washington Post for $250 million. The pundits are in a whirlwind discussing whether or not Bezos will be successful with this big gamble. Knowing Bezos and his long-term orientation I would give him better odds than most that he will find success.
My article titled To Succeed in Business, Act Like a Child got published on The Washington Post – On Small Business Blog today. In the article I describe how if we want to encourage innovation in business we should follow the examples set by our children with their creativity, ambition, and fearlessness. As we get older we lose our tolerance for risk-taking and failure. We become conditioned to mitigate risks to preserve our wealth and egos. But there are ways that business leaders can promote risk-taking and failure: 1) intentionally hiring risk-takers, 2) creating policies that retain innovators, 3) purposely addressing risk-taking and failure, and 4) demonstrating transparency.
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