Fortune Magazine recently published its list of the world’s great leaders. Top of the pile is Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. Their accompanying article gives an interesting insight into the kind of leader Jeff Bezos has become, and how this maintains Amazon’s customer-centric success.
If you don’t have time to read the article, there’s a 2 minute video. If even that’s too long, consider two key descriptions of Bezos and compare them to what others may say about the leaders within your own organisation…
A great leader of leaders
“Today it’s not a hub-and-spoke connecting to him. He has become a great leader of leaders.” – Patty Stonesifer a long-serving Amazon Board member
Some organisations talk enthusiastically about empowering their staff, but then keep very tight control of decision-making. The reality then becomes that “empowerment” really means “I want to hold someone else accountable if things don’t work”. In contrast Bezos has had to delegate more, and according to his Board members, this had led to him becoming an even better leader – by cultivating leadership in those around him. This form of empowerment makes it much easier for the decision-makers to connect with those who are directly hearing the voice of the customer.
Still preaching customer focus
“Bezos is preternaturally consistent. He still preaches customer focus and long-term thinking.” – Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Magazine.
One of the three foundations of customer-centricity is ‘conviction’. That deep down belief that a clear customer focus is the only way to succeed. This doesn’t change when the next buzz phrase comes along. Amazon maintains a deep focus on customers because it’s leaders still passionately believe it’s the best (only) way to succeed.