Industry Leaders Seeing Their Vision Through + Business Coach

Business Coach Explains Why Some Industry Leaders Stay Until The End

Business Coach Asks Who Says the Goal of Life is to Retire?

There are many great business leaders who opted to stay connected to their business until the end of their days. This business coach provides examples.

  • Walt Disney – Up until the day of his death in 1967, Walt Disney stayed active in producing Disney Films. He never did retire.
  • Sam Walton – Sam Walton was the chairman of Walmart until the day of his death. He briefly retired for two years, but he missed the company so much that he came back.
  • Steve Jobs – Steve Jobs worked until August 24, 2011, when he physically was no longer able work due to a terminal illness. He died less than 45 days later on October 5, 2011.
  • Michael Jordan – “I’m my own worst enemy. I drove myself so much that I’m still living with some of those drives. I’m living with that. I don’t know how to get rid of it. I don’t know if I could. And here I am, still connected to the game.”
  • Harrison Ford – “I think retirement’s for old people. I’m still in the business, thank you. I have a young child of nine years old, and I want to live as long as I can to see him grow up. I’m enjoying my life and I want to stick around for as long as I can.” (The 73-year old man who played the role of Indiana Jones and just played Han Solo in the most recent installment of the Star Wars movie series, Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

Business owners who win and are successful over the long term focus on training, empowering, and coaching up the people who will eventually take over when they are ready to move on. As a business coach, I know that successful business owners focus on creating a company culture of excellence that will help their organization thrive regardless of whether the founder is still involved in the day to day. Those business owners who train, empower, and coach for the future then have a choice to stay on because they want to remain involved in the company or they can move on, knowing that the company’s future success is not dependent on their presence. 

Business Coach Fun Fact:

When the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, decided to allow Amazon to become the only shareholder of Zappos stock, he did so with confidence knowing that Zappos would continue to operate in the same way and with the same culture that had made them so successful in the past. He was so confident of this fact that he wrote the following e-mail that he sent to all Zappos employees to announce the deal with Amazon.com.

Business Coach Shares Tony Hsieh’s Email:

Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2009
From: Tony Hsieh (CEO – Zappos.com)
To: All Zappos Employees
Subject: Zappos and Amazon

Please set aside 20 minutes to carefully read this entire email. (My apologies for the occasional use of formal-sounding language, as parts of it are written in a particular way for legal reasons.)

Today is a big day in Zappos history.

This morning, our board approved and we signed what’s known as a “definitive agreement”, in which all of the existing shareholders and investors of Zappos (there are over 100) will be exchanging their Zappos stock for Amazon stock. Once the exchange is done, Amazon will become the only shareholder of Zappos stock.

Over the next few days, you will probably read headlines that say, “Amazon acquires Zappos” or “Zappos sells to Amazon”. While those headlines are technically correct, they don’t really properly convey the spirit of the transaction. (I personally would prefer the headline “Zappos and Amazon sitting in a tree…”)

We plan to continue to run Zappos the way we have always run Zappos — continuing to do what we believe is best for our brand, our culture, and our business. From a practical point of view, it will be as if we are switching out our current shareholders and board of directors for a new one, even though the technical legal structure may be different.

We think that now is the right time to join forces with Amazon because there is a huge opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths and move even faster towards our long-term vision. For Zappos, our vision remains the same: delivering happiness to customers, employees, and vendors. We just want to get there faster.

We are excited about doing this for 3 main reasons:

1) We think that there is a huge opportunity for us to really accelerate the growth of the Zappos brand and culture, and we believe that Amazon is the best partner to help us get there faster.

2) Amazon supports us in continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Zappos brand and with our unique culture.

3) We want to align ourselves with a shareholder and partner that thinks really long term (like we do at Zappos), as well as do what’s in the best interest of our existing shareholders and investors.

I will go through each of the above points in more detail below, but first, let me get to the top 3 burning questions that I’m guessing many of you will have.

TOP 3 BURNING QUESTIONS

Q: Will I still have a job?

As mentioned above, we plan to continue to run Zappos as an independent entity. In legal terminology, Zappos will be a “wholly-owned subsidiary” of Amazon. Your job is just as secure as it was a month ago.

Q: Will the Zappos culture change?

Our culture at Zappos is unique and always evolving and changing, because one of our core values is to Embrace and Drive Change. What happens to our culture is up to us, which has always been true. Just like before, we are in control of our destiny and how our culture evolves.

A big part of the reason why Amazon is interested in us is because they recognize the value of our culture, our people, and our brand. Their desire is for us to continue to grow and develop our culture (and perhaps even a little bit of our culture may rub off on them).

They are not looking to have their folks come in and run Zappos unless we ask them to. That being said, they have a lot of experience and expertise in a lot of areas, so we’re very excited about the opportunities to tap into their knowledge, expertise, and resources, especially on the technology side. This is about making the Zappos brand, culture, and business even stronger than it is today.

This business coach shares more Q & A’s on another helpful post.

December 11th, 2017

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