Warrent Buffet's annual letters to shareholders are rightfully well known and famous for bringing a plain spoken perspective to the business of investing.
The letter from Jeff Bezos, included in Amazon.com's most recent annual report may well join the letters of Warren Buffet as classic business reads - but for leaders in consumer-focused businesses rather than finance and insurance.
His thoughts are certainly worth a read for anyone working in consumer care, particularly in larger organizations. They particularly resonate in the context of a rapidly evolving consumer products industry where mature companies and brands face new entrants competing in entirely different ways.
Here are 4 ideas worth considering:
1) "...customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf."
2) "Good process serves you so you can serve customers. But if you’re not watchful, the process can become the thing. This can happen very easily in large organizations. The process becomes the proxy for the result you want. You stop looking at outcomes and just make sure you’re doing the process right."
3) "...embrace powerful trends quickly. If you fight them, you’re probably fighting the future. Embrace them and you have a tailwind. These big trends are not that hard to spot (they get talked and written about a lot), but they can be strangely hard for large organizations to embrace."
4) "...recognize true misalignment issues early and escalate them immediately. Sometimes teams have different objectives and fundamentally different views. They are not aligned. No amount of discussion, no number of meetings will resolve that deep misalignment. Without escalation, the default dispute resolution mechanism for this scenario is exhaustion. Whoever has more stamina carries the decision."
Great advice and watchouts for those of us who work to delight our consumers and influence our brands in positive, constructive ways!