Jeff Bezos Essay
I have attached my CEO Analysis as you requested for Business Rhetoric class. The document provides a biography of Jeffrey Bezos CEO of Amazon, along with an analysis of his visionary leadership style. My initial interest in Bezos stemmed from a personal interest in ecommerce business and start-up business leadership.
After much research I have concluded that Jeffrey Bezos’ visionary leadership style consists of three main characteristics. First, is his focus on long-term goal setting and focusing on the horizon, not what is at hands reach. Second, is his relentless pursuit of innovation. Lastly, is the characteristic of being the motivator of a team. All three of these characteristics implemented at the same time have allowed Amazon to take over an entire market as well as constantly being one step ahead of their competition.
As a student and competitor, I would appreciate as much candid feedback in the areas in which you believe I need to channel my efforts and focus on improving my business rhetoric. As I know such honestly crucial to my development in realizing my aspirations as a business professional.
CEO Leadership Analysis
Jeffrey P Bezos – Amazon.com
Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen was born on January 12, 1964 in Albuquerque, New
Mexico to his mother Jacklyn Gise and birth father Ted Jorgenson. Jacklyn and Ted divorced around a year later. When Jeff was the age of four Jacklyn remarried to a man named Mike Bezos. Mike Bezos was a Cuban immigrant at the age of 15 who went on to graduate from the University of Albuquerque and to legally adopt Jeffrey.1 His father was a huge influence in Jeff’s educational and problem solving abilities. 1
Much of Jeff’s inclination towards science came from Mike who moved the family to Houston, Texas. In Houston Mike began to pursue a career as an engineer at Exxon. As Jeff developed mentally it was strikingly apparent how much science and mechanics interested him. After moving to Miami and graduating from Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Jeff was accepted to Princeton University. At Princeton he graduated summa cum laude, with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.2
His business career started on Wall Street, where he used his knowledge of computer science to study market trends. Jeff excelled in the real world and quickly worked his way up the corporate ladder because of his overall talent. He gained useful start-up knowledge at Fitel, worked his way to a leadership position at Bankers Trust and ended as Senior Vice President at D.E. Shaw where he met his wife, Mackenzie.
Jeffrey Bezos quit his great paying stable career on Wall Street and moved from New York to Seattle in 1994 to start Amazon.com, originally just an internet book-selling business. After massive growth and lots of work, Amazon took off. In 2011, Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire, went from a book business to the one stop shop to buy anything and recorded revenues of $48.08B.3 Today, at age 49 Jeffrey Bezos is looked at as one of the most influential CEO’s in history.
A CEO’s leadership style is the skeleton of a living business organism. Leadership can essentially cause a company to succeed or fail. At Amazon leadership provides the structural frame for an extremely complex, information-analyzing, group of highly reactive teams. Jeff Bezos’ primary leadership style is visionary. His visionary leadership style consists of two main characteristics: long-term goal setting and innovation thru invention. As a leader one must pick the proper setting in which to best implement the vision. Therefore, the third visionary leadership characteristic Bezos’ utilizes is motivation through a team atmosphere. These three combined characteristics of his visionary leadership style have strategically guided Amazon in the daunting task of taking over a market.
Jeff Bezos is a visionary leader because he focuses on long-term goals. When asked what makes his company successful he states, “Willingness to be long term oriented and willingness to be misunderstood, willingness to fail, those cultural traits are important contributors to what we have built at Amazon”.2 The visionary characteristic of long-term goal setting allows for his firm to make mistakes, be patient and correct the mistakes based on customer feedback data. This in turn reduces large risks and increases innovation by allowing for relatively inexpensive research and development. “We are willing to plant seeds and wait a long time for them to turn into trees…”3 As a visionary leader Bezos persistently displays an ability to see the big picture.
Bezos is a visionary leader because he has a constant focus on innovation through invention. His theory on innovation is to start with the customer and work backwards.4 Amazon is constantly inventing using this approach. As a constant reminder to his employees of what is possible and what is to come in the future, he named an Amazon corporate building in Seattle “Day 1”5. The intention here was to reiterate that the internet is still in its infancy and that there is still an infinite amount of innovation to capitalize on.6 This core visionary characteristic of innovating and inventing has enabled Amazon to consistently grow.
Finally, Mr. Bezos focuses his attention on numerous smaller teams within Amazon, using this team mentality to motivate his employees. Best
illustrated by his famous “Two Pizza Team” concept his thought process is that “if you can’t feed your team with two pizzas, then it’s too large.”7 This emphasis on small-team collaboration fosters feelings of individual ownership and connection that is oftentimes lost in the corporate America hierarchy, and thus is core reason for the success of Amazon. He recognizes that for Amazon to thrive and continue to innovate, he must bring out the best in all the players on his team, and to do so requires that each team member feel their contributions are meaningful, and thus an integral part of the company’s success.
In summary Jeffrey Bezos is a successful visionary leader because he employs long-term goals setting, innovation, and team motivation. Through my experience as a collegiate athlete I have concluded that a leader can have the perfect vision, but unless he has the highest motivation of the followers he is leading, that vision will not become a reality. Therefore it is crucial as leader to straddle the line of productive motivation and destructive motivation in order the achieve the highest of motivation from your team.