Monday, November 19, 2012

Jeff Bezos & The Power of the Written Word

Fortune just profiled Amazon uber-boss Jeff Bezos in a must-read piece titled "Amazon's Jeff Bezos: the Ultimate Disruptor."  In what certainly has become the most "shocking" revelation to many in the tech world (see this Business Insider piece), Bezos opens up about leading his senior executive ("S-Team") meetings with 30 minutes of silence, during which the S-Team collectively reads 6-page PAPER (that's right, non-e-ink!) memos written by team members.

Why?  To focus his S-Team on contemplation -- contemplating issues by taking the time to put them down intelligently, with organization, on paper (real paper); and, contemplating issues by taking the time to carefully read and absorb them before they are discussed.

Listen, I am no Jeff Bezos.  But, at the same time, I have always believed in the power of the written word -- or, more accurately, written words thoughtfully strung together to force contemplation, organization, and prioritization.  That's why I am an avid blogger -- have been for years -- and that's why I have led my own senior staff meetings for years with written detailed agendas that are put down on actual paper.

Even in this increasingly virtual world, some things never change.  Nothing substitutes for the power of the in-person face-to-face meeting (even in the face of video conferencing).  And, nothing substitutes for the power of the thoughtfully crafted written word(s).  I am not talking email snippets here.  I am talking about really taking the time.

Take the time.  Do it right.  

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