Paths to Success: Five Career Lessons To Learn From Jeff Bezos

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What other CEO but Amazon founder Jeff Bezos would allow dissatisfied customers to e-mail him directly? Such is the commitment to customer service of Bezos, the leader of the world’s highest-earning internet company. Here are five career lessons that you can learn from the king of e-commerce.

Learn self-reliance—work with your hands!

Of all of the idyllic childhood activities for one to reminisce about, castrating cattle and installing plumbing probably aren’t the first things that come to mind. However, Bezos looks back on his memories of his grandfather’s farm fondly, reflecting on how working with his hands taught him the self-reliance and can-do attitude that characterize his business today.

Know what matters in your career.

Although he had an extremely lucrative career in finance, Bezos rejected the pleas of both his parents and his boss by quitting and moving into the emerging field of e-commerce. Bezos later explained his risky move by saying that no matter the outcome, when he was eighty years old, he would never regret leaving Wall Street to take a chance in the Internet revolution.

Put the customer first.

Bezos is a firm believer in excellent customer service, which has been a major facet of his success at Amazon. During conferences, he often leaves a seat open to represent the customer, the most important person at the table. Dissatisfied Amazon customers can also e-mail Bezos, ensuring that their voices are heard.

Develop your ideas.

For ideas to succeed, they must be thoroughly developed; in this vein, Bezos does not allow Amazon staff to present their proposals via bullet points in PowerPoint, but instead requires them to write six-page papers to encourage critical thought.

Avoid group thinking.

Although it is productive to work in groups, when they become too large, mob thinking can take precedent over individual thought. To avoid group thinking, Bezos employs the “Two-Pizza Rule”—if a team cannot be fed by two pizzas, it must be scaled down.

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