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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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(続)アマゾンBezosの評伝が来週発売

 




Business Weekを読んだ自分の印象を記事にしておきます。日本だとユニクロの柳内さんの非情さが話題になりますが、アマゾンのBezosも馴れ合いを嫌う厳しい経営者であることは間違いないようです。これだけの短期間で会社を大きくしていくにはそれだけの厳しさが要求されるという事でしょうか。

The Secrets of Bezos: How Amazon Became the Everything Store
By Brad Stone October 10, 2013

The one unguarded thing about Bezos is his laugh—a pulsing, mirthful bray that he leans into while craning his neck back. He unleashes it often, even when nothing is obviously funny to anyone else. And it startles people. “You can’t misunderstand it,” says Rick Dalzell, Amazon’s former chief information officer, who says Bezos often wields his laugh when others fail to meet his lofty standards. “It’s disarming and punishing. He’s punishing you.”

上記のようにBezosの笑い方は冒頭の動画でも触れていました。やさしいタイプなのかと思いきや、そうとう厳しい事を社員には言っているようで、その例をいくつか紹介していました。

Intensity is hardly rare among technology CEOs. Steve Jobs was as famous for his volatility with Apple (AAPL) subordinates as he was for the clarity of his insights about customers. He fired employees in the elevator and screamed at underperforming executives. Bill Gates used to throw epic tantrums at Microsoft (MSFT); Steve Ballmer, his successor, had a propensity for throwing chairs. Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel (INTC), was so harsh and intimidating that a subordinate once fainted during a performance review.

Bezos fits comfortably into this mold. His drive and boldness trumps other leadership ideals, such as consensus building and promoting civility. While he can be charming and capable of great humor in public, in private he explodes into what some of his underlings call nutters. A colleague failing to meet Bezos’s exacting standards will set off a nutter. If an employee does not have the right answers or tries to bluff, or takes credit for someone else’s work, or exhibits a whiff of internal politics, uncertainty, or frailty in the heat of battle—a blood vessel in Bezos’s forehead bulges and his filter falls away. He’s capable of hyperbole and harshness in these moments and over the years has delivered some devastating rebukes. Among his greatest hits, collected and relayed by Amazon veterans:

“Are you lazy or just incompetent?”
“I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?”
“Do I need to go down and get the certificate that says I’m CEO of the company to get you to stop challenging me on this?”
“Are you trying to take credit for something you had nothing to do with?”
“If I hear that idea again, I’m gonna have to kill myself.”
“We need to apply some human intelligence to this problem.”
[After reviewing the annual plan from the supply chain team] “I guess supply chain isn’t doing anything interesting next year.”
[After reading a start-of-meeting memo] “This document was clearly written by the B team. Can someone get me the A team document? I don’t want to waste my time with the B team document.”
[After an engineer’s presentation] “Why are you wasting my life?”


精一杯取り組んだ仕事に対してCEOにこんなきついことを言われると自分は泣いちゃうかもしれません(苦笑)また、コンセンサスを求めるよりもお互いを競わせてより良い方法を模索するアプローチをとっているようです。

The people who do well at Amazon are often those who thrive in an adversarial atmosphere with almost constant friction. Bezos abhors what he calls “social cohesion,” the natural impulse to seek consensus. He’d rather his minions battle it out backed by numbers and passion, and he has codified this approach in one of Amazon’s 14 leadership principles—the company’s highly prized values that are often discussed and inculcated into new hires:

Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.

Some employees love this confrontational culture and find they can’t work effectively anywhere else. “Everybody knows how hard it is and chooses to be there,” says Faisal Masud, who spent five years in the retail business. “You are learning constantly, and the pace of innovation is thrilling. I filed patents; I innovated. There is a fierce competitiveness in everything you do.” The professional networking site LinkedIn (LNKD) is full of “boomerangs”—Amazon-speak for executives who left the company and then returned.

この記事のメインはQuidsiという会社の買収までのいきさつでした。競合となりそうな会社に対しては容赦なく対応していく様子を実感することができます。

やっぱり仲良しグループでは現状維持が精一杯になってしまうのでしょうか。会社を大きくしていくには、これくらいの厳しさ、非情さがないといけないのだなと実感できる記事でした。
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