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How Did Jeff Bezos Avoid Clinging To Status Quo To Take Amazon From Good To Great?

Be an explorer, not a conqueror. Jeff believes more in exploring and experimenting rather than taking on his competitors. He rightly remarked, "What's dangerous is not to evolve."

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"If your customer base is aging with you, then eventually you are going to become obsolete or irrelevant. You need to be constantly figuring out who are your new customers and what are you doing to stay forever young." -Jeff Bezos

CEOs must not cling to business models and systems that worked in the past, because what worked in the past and present might not work in future. Amazon founder and CEO, Jeffrey Preston Bezos (Jeff Bezos) has long avoided maintaining the status quo. He is a visionary leader with clarity in his approach to business. He turned selling books online into a multibillion-dollar business that has changed the trend of retailing forever. Let us look at how Jeff Bezos stayed away from status quo to take Amazon to great heights globally.

Jeff Bezos is an engineer and entrepreneur who left his lucrative job as a vice-president at a high-level placement firm on Wall Street to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship and started Amazon from the garage of his Seattle suburban house when internet was growing globally. He is the CEO of Amazon, and a dreamer and doer. Right from childhood he was interested in computers. He entered into e-commerce business which was considered a risky move in those days.

Leadership Lessons from Jeff Bezos
Here are the leadership lessons CEOs and leaders must learn from him:

* Follow your heart. Jeff gave up his lucrative career and followed his heart to pursue entrepreneurship.
* Be a risk taker. Jeff took risks and learned lessons from both successes and failures.
* Be a trendsetter. Never follow the conventional path. Create unconventional ideas and follow them ruthlessly. Jeff is a trendsetter, not a trend follower.
* Build a strong team: Jeff has a strong team of experts who advise him constantly about the developments. He takes their views into consideration and makes decisions. It minimizes mistakes and maximizes effectiveness.
* Be an explorer, not a conqueror. Jeff believes more in exploring and experimenting rather than taking on his competitors. He rightly remarked, "What's dangerous is not to evolve."

Emphasize customer satisfaction, not money. Jeff believes in adding value to customers and keep them happy because happy customers bring more customers through word of mouth. It ultimately improves organizational bottom lines. He once remarked, "The best customer service is if the customer doesn't need to call you, doesn't need to talk to you. It just works."

Strive for excellence. Emphasize excellence. Jeff Bezos strives for excellence and delivers real value, and a great customer experience regardless of the business he is into.

Emphasize efforts, not outcome. Jeff invests his efforts consistently and experiments on various products and services. He finishes what he starts. He doesn't mind when something goes wrong as all decisions might not go well. When things go wrong, he learns lessons and explores and experiments further.

Persevere. When Jeff Bezos wanted to start Amazon many people did not clearly understand the importance of internet. He struggled very hard to raise $1 million to get Amazon off the ground.

Jeff Bezos and Leadership Brand

Jeff Bezos is an amazing international entrepreneur. But he did not get the adequate attention he deserves globally for his achievements. In contrast, the less successful CEOs got more attention than him. The global media highlights a lot of inspiring stories on Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and other CEOs. I feel that Jeff Bezos is an underrated CEO in the world despite contributing his best. It seems he did not concentrate on building his leadership brand globally. People are still under the impression that he runs a retail store only. Additionally, many CEOs are busy with their business growth and expansion and don't find time to focus on their brand building. That might be another reason for not getting the deserving attention. Probably it might take some more time to build his brand as Jeff Bezos founded Amazon only in 1994. With the death of Steve Jobs, there is a leadership vacuum in technology. Hence, it is a great opportunity for Jeff Bezos to fill the vacuum by stepping into his shoes to build his leadership brand globally.

Tips to Avoid Status Quo
Most leaders and CEOs have a tendency to stagnate when they have accomplished a certain level of success. Instead they must adapt new trends and changes with the changing times and technologies to energize their organizations. Here are some tips to avoid staying status quo: You must take risks regularly. You must not depend on tried and tested principles and philosophies. Marshall Goldsmith in his award-winning book, What Got You Here Won't Get You There asserts that the tools and techniques adopted to reach a certain level might not work at the next level. Hence, don't take things for granted.

At times leaders think that known devil is better than unknown angel. What they must do is to come out their comfort zone and explore options to improve systems and procedures. Steve Jobs is an ideal example of a leader who is always out of comfort zone with his innovations and value added products and services.

Conclusion
People are scared of unknown. Hence, they cling to status quo. Life is an excitement only when we follow the road less travelled. People think that a bird in hand is worth two in the bush which is not correct always. To conclude, Jeff Bezos is an unconventional entrepreneur with a Midas touch. He is a dreamer and doer. He showed that everything is possible in this world. What is essential is to dream big, and do big to leave a mark behind for others. The CEOs and leaders must learn lessons from his exemplary and innovative leadership to take their organizations from good to great globally.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Professor M.S. Rao

Professor M.S.Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of ‘Soft Leadership’ and Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with 35 years of experience and the author of 30 books including the award-winning ‘21 Success Sutras for CEOs’

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