Author: Robert Richman

Your people are not loyal.

Navy Seals are the best bed makers you’ll meet. They learn how to make beds to perfection as part of their training.  If it’s not perfect, then they have to do it over.    But sometimes they will have do it over again, even if it is perfect. This drove some recruits mad – to […]

We Buy and Sell Time.

What business are you really in? For Zappos, it’s:  “A a customer service company, that happens to sell shoes.” Other businesses would come to visit our headquarters, hear that phrase and then have an epiphany… “Oh! I’m in the business of making restaurant owners’ lives easier. I just happen to repair refrigerators.” For Zappos Insights, […]

3 Conditions for Disruption

3 Conditions for Disruption These are the conditions for disruption, and I’ll use Uber as the example. A market is ripe for disruption when: 1. Existing solutions are far below satisfaction And yet users tolerate existing offers because there is no alternative. Taxis are stereotypically old, smelly cars, with gruff drivers, and high friction payment […]

It’s not the software

You’ve probably heard this one… The story about the company that was so excited to bring in the new intranet software so they could finally get everyone on the same page, share knowledge, stay up to date and unify the company, and then… no one used it. Something happened when we started using the word […]

The culture of a great podcast

“The Medium is the Message.” – Marshall McLuhan. Rogan has guests from the cultural zeitgeist, and he discusses current issues so the audience feels like they’re being educated (much the way people would get their news from the Daily show). But I find his use of the medium the most compelling reason. Here are the […]

What are you leaving on the table?

I walked away from what I thought was the best meeting ever… “Yes, we got everything we asked for!” I said. We had just walked out of a meeting with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, and he gave us all the resources we asked for to launch a new project. My colleague said, “That’s not good.” […]

Have you hired a ghost?

Dave Logan, author of Tribal Leadership, helped me see the power of a good listener, who has the ability to influence conversation without even saying anything. He said, “You can tell who has that kind of power because if they look at their watch then the whole room.”  Their presence holds the space of the […]

The Secret of the Family Business

When I’m with a group of leaders and managers, there’s often one from a family business. They are the ones who throw me a curveball. Their culture questions are very different from the rest of the group. The conversation ends pretty quickly once I give them the answer they are not expecting. I say: “Family […]

Adding Friction to Onboard Customers and Employees

I just signed up for a Virtual Assistant Service. They made it easy on me, by making it challenging. What? Yes. Stay with me here… They could have simply given me a button that said, “Sign up here.” Then they could have taken my money. Yes, that would have been an “easy” process. But how […]

Do you have counter-balancing values?

In the Culture Blueprint I talk about how culture is related to systems theory.  There are feedback loops (culture feeds on itself). Here are the two kinds and why you should know about them: 1. Reinforcing Loops These are the values you want to be known for. You want reinforce behaviors that support these values. […]