If you haven’t read the Jeff Bezos / Amazon investor letter circulating around the internet, it’s a good one. Take the sixty seconds you typically use to look at who’s been looking at your Instagram stories and have a peek.
I love this letter because it’s clear and full of confidence without being too certain. Bezos is clear that past performance has been strong, but he’s not certain about the future. That’s why every day is “day 1” at Amazon. You don’t rest on your laurels. You push forward, even when it’s uncomfortable, and you aim for new goals.
The “day 1” philosophy is an audacious attempt to keep the Amazon employment experience from growing stale, and it’s worth considering in your own lives. The first day of anything — school, work, summer camp — is full of potential and opportunity. But “day 1” is where you make meaningful choices: do you push through first-day jitters and uncertainty and set your sights on something important, or do you wait and see how day two plays out?
Because people who are innovative and passionate know that there’s no waiting around for day two. When day two comes, it’s too late.
I also love this investor letter because Jeff Bezos clearly articulates an essential component of working for Amazon: you can disagree, but you should “disagree and commit.”
Disagree and commit is one of those concepts that sounds super-good on paper, but I can assure you that it’s one of the most challenging aspects of collaborating with a team of people. Most people get the “disagree” portion pretty quickly. For some reason, the modern workforce encourages an insane phenomenon where everybody is entitled to an opinion as if feelings are facts.
It’s the “commit” component that goes wrong. There’s the meeting-after-the-meeting to undermine the commitment. There’s also passive-aggressive behavior in the office meant to tell the world that the commitment is shallow and superficial.
So, please have a look at the Jeff Bezos Amazon investor letter. See if there’s anything that resonates with you. And, as an interesting challenge, write your own letter. What do people get when they invest their time and energy with you and your team? What do you promise? How do you plan to accomplish your goals?
I think that could be an interesting exercise for you and your colleagues.