Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What CEOs Can Learn from Andrew Mason's Resignation Letter

There's been a lot of talk and press about Andrew Mason leaving (OK, getting fired from) Groupon. I didn't pay much attention to it until I came across this post over the weekend about The 13 Best Resignation Letters of All Time. His really stood out to me for a variety of reasons.

If you haven't seen the letter, here it is in its entirety, as published with the above story.


I love how he owned up to some things, but what I really love is that last paragraph (bolding is mine), which reads:

If there's one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what's best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness - don't waste the opportunity!

Wow! He sums up in so many words what we, as customer experience professionals, try to convey every day: It is important to the success of the business to focus on the customer and on the customer experience.

I don't know much about the inner workings and culture of Groupon, but I do know that the business has been in trouble for a while. And just last week, Groupon lost a quarter of its market value after releasing their Q4 earnings. Making the customer (and employee) experience a priority leads to better numbers than that. I don't think I need to give you any examples; you should know them by now.

I suppose someone learned a huge lesson here. And I'm glad he decided to impart it on his employees as he was leaving. I hope the new CEO, when selected, carries that torch. This is a lesson to be learned by a lot of CEOs.

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else. - Sam Walton

6 comments:

  1. Annette, I had only seen the first line of the resignation letter in the press. It struck me as a little shallow at the time.

    Thanks for posting the whole thing. It casts a totally different perspective on the whole event. I suspect there are a number of group on employees who will follow Andrew to his next venture.

    James

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, James, for your comment. It certainly does shed a different light on it all. I've heard from others today that they, too, were impressed after reading the entire letter. I wish him well and hope he goes on to do more great things.

      Annette :-)

      Delete
  2. I'm really impressed by the letter, and by the fact that he was allowed to send it to staff and make it public. Most companies are too frightened of whatever they fear most to allow that freedom. Makes me respect Groupon more. Thanks for publishing it all, Annette.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Julia. Usually these letters find a back channel out; good for him for getting in front of it.

      Annette :-)

      Delete
  3. Hi Annette,
    I had only noticed this story in passing in the press this week and hadn't paid much attention to it. So, thank you for telling the story in detail.

    I think it's a beautiful letter full of humanity, honesty, humility, humour and insight (i wish I could have found a fifth that started with an 'h') with lessons for us all.

    Thank you for sharing,

    Adrian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Adrian. I agree with your 4 Hs and 1 I. :-) All good lessons.

      Annette :-)

      Delete