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Peeling Back the Layers of Jeff Bezos’ Leadership Style Reveals 8 Entrepreneurial Lessons   

There’s never a shortage of inspiration that is borne from the Amazon CEO.

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BY Tom Popomaronis - 06 Jun 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Executives, entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone who wants to vastly improve their core competencies seem to look toward Jeff Bezos to learn how to emulate an outstanding CEO & visionary, and with good reason--Bezos is the wealthiest person on the planet with no signs of slowing down. Managing Director of RBC Capital Mark Mahaney even foresees Amazon's growth arc to include the company becoming the first trillion-dollar business. Undoubtedly, there are powerful leadership techniques that can be derived from the pioneer and applied to your own.

However, to appreciate the 'Bezos Way' we first need to understand his philosophical approach to business, revealing what exactly is under the hood of his approach to business & leadership style. What does Bezos do?

He intimately understands the market and acts on it

Bezos understands the concept of knowing your market in spades--and supporting that market with actionable innovation (often before consumers even know it). Those basic pillars of assumption include:

  • Online shopping will continue to evolve
  • Increased bandwidth will mean faster viewing, improved content, and 24/7 access (i.e., 5g)
  • Mobile devices and wireless access will continue to drastically improve shopping experiences
  • Core technology must continue to evolve
  • Cross-market penetration is an opportunity (i.e., Whole Foods & smart home devices)

According to Bezos, the attempt to predict future trends, technological improvements, and deciding how these issues affect your customers are of paramount importance. Those conversations need to be happening.

He established a deeply rooted mission (and maintains it)

Amazon's mission statement is one that has been consistent since their virtual doors opened in 1994:

"Our vision is to use this platform to build Earth's most customer-centric company, a place where customers can come to find and discover anything and everything they might want to buy online."

Yes, missions statements are naturally iterative and will continue to evolve with any company, but that mission still stands true. Amazon has a relentless customer-first focus and works backward from there.

Bezos' Leadership Depth

Bezos' is an exceptional executive with simple, but powerful philosophies with substantial leadership depth, examples of which include:

  • being tyrannical giving directives, but not being a tyrant
  • being a thinker and doer
  • trying a plethora of many ideas
  • maximizing resources, eliminate waste, optimize time
  • seeking action when there is success
  • asking questions
  • maximizing resource, eliminate waste, optimize time
  • keeping standards high
  • focusing on talent acquisition and talent development

What you can do

Get ready to harness your metaphorical WWBD (What Would Bezos Do) bracelets, folks. Here's how you can turn Bezos' into actionable tips for yourselves.

  1. Take bold, calculated steps without forgetting your roots
  2. Combine your vision with action -become even better at executing
  3. Encourage collective 'think tanks'--you may be surprised where your next idea comes from
  4. Become laser-focused on how to optimize productivity and reduce redundancies
  5. Iterate on successful outcomes
  6. Ask more questions--'why' is not a dirty word
  7. Maintain integrity
  8. Invest in what your company is doing to retain & attract the right talent

Bezos has consistently been a proponent of these philosophies to become and maintain his iconic status, which allows him to better serve his customers and to innovate despite roadblocks or failures.

Consider incorporating the techniques that best align with your own--Bezos' track record makes it a pretty compelling case to experiment.

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