Jeff Bezos’s decision making advice

I read about Jeff Bezos’s Day 1 letter before. I believe most people know him. He is the CEO and founder of the largest online store in the world – I read it again yesterday and am still fascinated with his thoughts and advice on how the decision-making process should be.

Jeff’s Day 1 philosophy is that we should always have an entrepreneurial, start-up mindset. Making high-quality, high-velocity decisions is part of his philosophy. It’s not easy, especially in an established company with lots of layers. Here is what high-velocity decision-making process looks like, according to Jeff:

  1. Never use a one-size-fits-all decision-making process. Management (and everybody) must understand that many decisions can be reversed. You just need to correct a wrong decision you made. Not all decisions cost millions of dollars to the company.
  2. 70% of the information should be sufficient for you to make a decision. You would never get all the information you need to make decisions. If you wait until you get more than 90% of the information, you would probably be too slow.
  3. Disagree and commit. Not everyone would agree with everything. Remember this – you should expect common action, not a common census. Even if you disagree, but the team has valid reasons to proceed, you should be fully committed to that decision.
  4. Identify true misalignment early. This is very important. The true misalignment comes from the team having different objectives and expectations from a project. No amounts of discussions or meetings would solve this issue. You need to go back to clarify the goals and objectives of the project before proceeding with any decisions.

This is the part I like the most from Jeff – “you need to be good at quickly recognizing and correcting bad decisions. If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.


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