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A Walk Back, Bezos to the Moon, The Great Resignation on Repeat, Where’s Your TPS Report?

July 9, 2021 Misti Aaronson

Remember When...?

Here's our advice:

...Amazon was just a bookstore?

Founded on July 5, 1994 (nearly 27 years ago this week!), Amazon was almost called “Cadabra” based on Bezos’ penchant for magical-sounding names. After concerns that it sounded too much like “Cadaver,” Bezos’ team landed on Amazon, otherwise known as the largest river in the world. Despite starting out of Bezos’ basement, in its first month, Amazon had already sold books to people in all 50 states and 45 different countries. Check out these interesting Amazon history facts here.

Today, it’s a $386B company, and Bezos has now stepped down so that he can head to the moon on Blue Origin on July 20th. Maybe Bezos will take Dushime up on his moon colony listing search? Apparently, this guy is spending the entire month in South Dakota (where Bezos is at a secret event with other leaders), just waiting for his phone call.

Funny Bezos-1

Speaking of dial-ups, remember when...?

...cell phones didn’t exist, and you had to use a phone booth? God forbid you were running late. At the start of the 2000s, there were 740 million cell phone subscriptions worldwide. Two decades later, that number has surpassed 8 billion!


Remember when…?

...we printed out our mapquest directions? It was a bad day if you lost your way, only to stop at a run-down Exxon to ask the clerk how to get back on track. These days, on the other hand, our cars and phones get us anywhere we need to go.


Remember when…?

….we lugged around these hulking machines to capture our most precious moments? Now, our phones don’t just do this for us; they do it better. In case you’re interested, the history of video recordings is quite compelling and dates all the way back to 1878.


There’s no question that the progression of technology has advanced and changed how we interact. Case in point: there are now 3.96 billion people using social media worldwide, and 58.11% of the world’s population is active on social media. And according to the Global Web Index, the average number of social media accounts per millennial or Gen Z-er is 8.8 per person!


We Won’t Stop Writing About the Great Resignation
(and you shouldn’t stop thinking about it, either)

And speaking of change, the world of work has transformed too—maybe not as rapidly as tech, but tech has driven the progress we’re seeing today. We (and others) have written many times about the Great Resignation, the mass employee exodus powered by the recent revelation that 40% of people today are looking for new jobs. As the pandemic fog lifts in the US, people are leaving their jobs in search of more money, more flexibility, more autonomy, and above all: more happiness.

There’s no question that humans today are looking to find deeper purpose at work, rooted in factors such as:

  • Doing work that’s aligned with their personal identity. The challenge here is that not everyone is aware of this need, and most people don't even know who they are.
  • Being seen, heard, and understood—not just for the work they produce, but for who they are and what they care about in their lives both at work and at home.
  • Wanting to matter. Feeling needed and doing work that makes a difference is profoundly human and incredibly important to most employees today. (Hence why having a strong vision, purpose, and mission is critical to your company’s health).
  • Feeling like a winner. Employees want to feel like they are successful, productive, and on the path towards achieving their dreams.
  • Having a positive feeling about the future and seeing possibilities for themselves and their families.

Another important factor to consider? That people want to have autonomy in their day-to-day lives. Isn’t it odd that as adults, we’re responsible for everything in our personal lives (from babies to bills), yet in the work environment, we have another adult telling us what to do? This incongruence will lead to the eventual collapse of traditional corporate structures rooted in hierarchy, power, and institutional patriarchy.

Long gone are the days when bosses will get away with being demanding, only caring about the results, or giving employees hell for not having cover pages for TPS Reports. Remember the movie Office Space, originally written in 1997? Although it was a comedy, the film accurately captured everything we hated (and still hate) about white-collar work in corporate, modern America. Sadly, variations of the movie’s bleak corporate reality still exist today. What’s different is that people are newly emboldened to walk away.

The bottom line? Today’s leadership and management structures are going to need an overhaul, and that train has already left the station.

If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them. If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.” Lao Tzu - Tao Te Ching

Leaders looking to learn?

Check out our previous webinar on how to avoid The Great Resignation

Worthy of a Look

worthy of a look

Treasures from our perspective:

  • Check out this week’s What’s the Point Wednesday - to learn something about “back-seat” driving at work and where it will lead you.
  • Our SHIFT Partner and friend, David Stein, CEO of Babson Diagnostics, gets a high five from us for closing $31M in a Series B funding round. We love David and what Babson is up to: transforming customer access to diagnostic blood testing through technology.
  • Have you heard of John O’Donohue? Although he passed in 2018, his work will stand the test of time. His legacy directs our search for intimacy to crucial thresholds: tradition and modernity, past and future, life and death, and the invisible world. In his last interview, he talks about how we can never know what it’s like to be inside another person, and how everyone is an artist in the most beautiful way. His work is profound and absolutely relevant now.

    “The poet wants to drink from the well of origin; to write the poem that has not yet been written. In order to enter this level of originality, the poet must reach beyond the chorus of chattering voices that people the surface of a culture. Furthermore, the poet must reach deeper inward; go deeper than the private hoard of voices down to the root-voice. It is here that individuality has the taste of danger, vitality and vulnerability. Here the creative has the necessity of inevitability; this is the threshold where imagination engages raw, unformed experience. This is the sense you have when you read a true poem. You know it could not be other than it is. Its self and its form are one.”
    John O’Donohue, Excerpt from BEAUTY

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TOPICS: Workplace Innovation, leadership, stories that shift