Creative Commons License photo credit: jennypdx founder and CEO Jeff Bezos paid a visit to the 37signals offices last week. Co-founder Jason Fried shared a nugget of insight from the conversations.

Bezos said that the people who are “right a lot” are those who are willing to re-evaluate and re-think their positions. He doesn’t see “consistency of thought” (Fried’s words) as a good trait. Instead, he values people who can continue to look at problems, even those considered to be solved, and see if they can be solved in a better, more efficient way. Those are the people who make a lot of the right calls, according to Bezos.

Meanwhile, what can cause people to be wrong a lot is when they are obsessed with details tied to only one perspective and on continuing and supporting that perspective.

This is applicable in a lot of areas, but you should think about how it applies to community management. For example:

  • I refer to user and content guidelines as a “living document.” You should always be willing to make adjustments that help you to more efficiently deal with challenges. And if they don’t work? You can always change them back.
  • The sections of your community – how you organize your content – will grow, adjust and shrink based on the needs of current members and the content they are posting. No matter how much you want to have a section on X, if no one is discussing X, it probably needs to go.
  • Moderator processes. What you have now may work, but can you make it better and more efficient? For example, the standard profanity filter on most platforms works fine. But, when a friend programmed a feature called Censor Block, it completely changed the way those posts were handled and made everyone happier.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t think things through. It’s not like Amazon just makes changes without thinking about them. But, what it does mean is that you should be willing to look for better ways to do something, even if it something that you already handle well. Be flexible and open minded.

Via Alex Williams.