Courage, Impalas and Amazon Go

two brown deer

The African Impala is the 2nd fastest land animal right behind the Cheetah capable of running almost 60 mph (Cheetah’s can run over 75 mph but they can’t go as long as the Impala – hence the reason there are still Impalas!).  They can jump over 10 feet high and 30 feet in length.  But at just 3 feet in height, an Impala can be kept in a zoo with a fence only 4 feet high.  They won’t jump over something if they can’t see what’s on the other side when they jump.  Because they lack faith, they don’t have the courage to take this leap and the remain in the same situation.  Sure, we must be calculated and wise.  But without courage, nothing changes.

Another component of change is much simpler in premise but more difficult in execution – it’s discipline.  We often say a situation isn’t happening or isn’t going to occur when what we should say is “I haven’t done what I needed to do” to cause something to happen, something to change.  We can’t control everything but often the answer is in what WE haven’t yet done.  We can’t control the wind, but we can adjust our sails as the saying goes.  Often the ingredient to make something happen is simply discipline.  When I feel stuck on a situation, this quote from Craig Groshel helps:

“Small disciplines done consistently lead to big results over time. It’s the small things that no one sees that lead to the big results that everyone wants. Discipline is the bridge between who you are and who you want to become. You can choose the pain of discipline or choose the pain of regret”.

These are 2 important ingredients in life and they certainly are relevant to doing anything innovative.  A really simple truism from The Hard Thing About Hard Things:  “a customer only knows what they want based on their current situation.  Innovation requires a combination of discipline, knowledge, skill and courage.” 

When Amazon was experimenting with ways to build their grocery business, consistently shoppers complained about long lines and the checkout process. Initially Amazon worked on how to expedite the process until one team member said “What if we just eliminate the checkout altogether?”. At first this seemed impossible. In fact some of the best product ideas start out as laughable. But with the courage to move forward on idea, they go from laughable to threatening to obvious quickly and today Amazon is selling the technology that made this “Just walk out” process possible.

Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat – Fortune favors the bold!

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