It’s always instructive to learn at the feet of CEOs of the world’s leading entrepreneurial companies. Whilst writing yesterday’s blog, I came across an article about Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. The article starts with the assertion that ‘Jeff Bezos likes to read’. Given that I am someone who makes a living out of book printing and self publishing, the statement grabbed my attention.
The article which was written by Adam Lashinsky, senior editor-at-large with management.fortune.cnn.com, then goes on to say:
‘More revealing is that the Amazon CEO’s fondness for the written word drives one of his primary, and peculiar, tools for managing his company: Meetings of his “S-team” of senior executives begin with participants quietly absorbing the written word. Specifically, before any discussion begins, members of the team — including Bezos — consume six-page printed memos in total silence for as long as 30 minutes. (Yes, the e-ink purveyor prefers paper. Ironic, no?) They scribble notes in the margins while the authors of the memos wait for Bezos and his minions to finish reading.
‘Amazon executives call these documents “narratives,” and even Bezos realizes that for the uninitiated — and fans of the PowerPoint presentation — the process is a bit odd. “For new employees, it’s a strange initial experience,” he tells Fortune. “They’re just not accustomed to sitting silently in a room and doing study hall with a bunch of executives.” Bezos says the act of communal reading guarantees the group’s undivided attention. Writing a memo is an even more important skill to master. “Full sentences are harder to write,” he says. “They have verbs. The paragraphs have topic sentences. There is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking.”‘
The full article can be found here.