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Jeff Bezos’s Vision for Space Travel Should Teach You 3 Important Leadership Principles

The vision and leadership principles required to send people into space are the same tools you need to lead people each day.

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BY Julian Hayes II - 01 Aug 2018

Jeff Bezos's Vision for Space Travel Should Teach You 3 Important Leadership Principles

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Top performers like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Ray Dalio, LeBron James, and Jeff Bezos operate on a different frequency compared to the average person. This much is a given.

One of the biggest differentiators for them is their ability to lead in their particular industries along with their ability to cast a vision. On Thursday, Bloomberg published a deep dive into rocket company Blue Origin, Bezos's latest grand vision about having "millions of people living and working in space." We've known Bezos was fascinated by space, but the specific details and ambitious undertaking in store have been tightly guarded until now.

For instance, one of Bezos's plans for a future design is called New Armstrong, which will most likely have its sights set on the moon. From there, "lunar villages can be set up to mine water, ice and other deposits that can be used to manufacture rocket fuel, facilitating travel elsewhere in the solar system" Bezos told Bloomberg.

He described leading Blue Origin as "the most important work I'm doing. It's crucial."

There's much more here than meets the eye. Specifically, there are three key leadership principles from Bezos's handling and approach with Blue Origin that we can all use in our daily lives to become more effective:

1. Stay hungry and forward-looking.

Bezos is worth approximately two-and-a-half Elon Musks and one Bill Gates. This didn't happen by accident. Achieving such a feat started back with his original letter to shareholders describing what was about to happen.

In regards to Blue Origin, Bezos originally loaded up with tinkerers and science fiction authors who could help reimagine space travel. Conventional wisdom would've placed a big stop sign on bringing science fiction authors to the roundtable when it came to dealing with complex scientific topics.

It's this very thing that is going to make Blue Origin just as successful as Amazon and the thing that leaders must implement in their daily lives. As you look to innovate and become unmistakable, bringing ambition to the table is a given. How will you think outside of the box to bring your unique flavor to the market?

Th easiest way to think outside the box which I frequently do is to look outside of my industry for inspiration and then merge those new ideas with the core traits of my industry.

2. Go incognito and just work.

Some people work and need to tell everyone about it while others are quietly building their empire. Bezos's Blue Origin project has been met with little fanfare because he hasn't said much about it outside of the occasional speech and promo video. He's been cautious and methodical with the process.

Nevertheless, Bezos has a huge presence and level of respect within the space circles due to the quality of the work he's producing behind the scenes.

What does this have to do with how you lead and perform on a daily basis?

Everything.

We live in a noisy and distraction-filled world that also tailors to immediate gratification. It's easy and tempting to feel the urge to share something just for the sake of doing so. However, it's imperative to avoid this trap of sharing just to share. This took some time for me to overcome. I felt like I was going to miss out on something.

However, instead of talking and adding to the daily noise, I finally learned to be quiet and work on my craft while setting aside time to be alone in order to strategize.

Let the quality of your work serve as the magnet that attracts others to you and your various causes.

3. Add some personal stakes to the vision.

A persuasive vision is sure to get others on board, but a vision with some personal stakes attached to it is even more powerful. At Blue Origin, its funding is largely done by Bezos selling $1 billion in Amazon stock every year while other space startups have to factor in ticket prices and various other external metrics.

While investing in your specific mission with money is a powerful signal, there are other ways to add some personal stakes to the situation such as giving employees personal stakes consisting of influence and monetary measures inside your company.

While you're most likely not looking to send millions of people to space, you most likely have specific roles in life where you need to lead and influence people. Having a vision is a given, but the essential tag-along is incorporating these basic principles mentioned above.

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