. . . and what I take away from them based on the work I’ve done over the course of my career.
- Base your strategy on things that won’t change. This is why I think its critical to identify the vision, mission and values of the company and the strategic positioning of the brand. These are what set your company, product or service apart and need to be known and reiterated to and by all of your employees.
- Obsess over customers. If you’ve been reading my posts for any amount of time, you know the importance I place on providing great customer experiences, measuring and improving customer satisfaction. In order to do this, you must have happy, empowered employees who will obsess over customers as much as you will.
- We are willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time. To me, this goes back to #1 and sticking to what you believe in. You can be well in front of the curve, but you’ve got to be sufficiently patient to give your vision time to pay off. Unfortunately, being patient takes capital.
- There are two kinds of companies: those that try to charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second. That’s good for Amazon and Wal-Mart because of their scale. However, I would not recommend an “everyday low price” strategy unless you have that scale. Otherwise you won’t be in business very long. Ask just a few of the companies that have lowered their prices to meet Wal-Mart’s demands that are now bankrupt (e.g., Vlasic Pickles, American Safety Razor, Hoover).
- Determine what your customers need and work backwards. Do this by talking to your customers and observing trends. “Big data” will tell you a lot, but not what’s on the customer’s mind.
- Our culture is friendly and intense, but if push comes to shove we’ll settle on intense. I agree if that means intensely focusing on what makes you different and better and consistently delivering that to your customers.
- If you want to be inventive you have to be willing to fail. You learn from failure. This point is consistent with my personal philosophy, “make mistakes early and often, just don’t make the same mistakes twice.” The faster you make mistakes, the faster you learn.
- In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building great service and 70% of your time shouting about it. In the new world that inverts. For forward thinking companies who know that the customer is now in control of the brand that is true; however, it is rare to see any company spending more on customer satisfaction and retention than they are on new customer acquisition, demand creation and lead generation. We’ll see if that changes in my lifetime.
- Everyone has to be able to work in a call center. Maybe not a call center per se but certainly be able to engage the prospect or customer in a conversation at a certain level. Everyone in the company needs to know what’s on the customer’s mind, and what better way of knowing that than by having a dialogue with them?
- This is Day 1 for the Internet. We still have so much to learn. This is Jeff Bezos saying that. The possibilities are astounding and I look forward to working with and learning from millennials to leverage its potential.
Which of Jeff Bezos’ 10 leadership lessons most resonate with you?