"We didn’t ascend from our hunter-gatherer days by being satisfied," Jeff Bezos, founder Amazon.
Businessman Jeff Bezos has built Amazon into a company that is well-known for delivering high-quality products and services. His annual letter to Amazon’s shareholders provides valuable insights on how his company, for eight years in a row now, has been ranked number 1 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
Setting high standards for himself and his co-workers, the richest man in the world underlined this success mantra in his letter.
Here are takeaways for healthcare professionals who aspire to be driven like the billionaire.
·Form and communicate realistic beliefs
Bezos writes how a close friend decided to learn to do a perfect free-standing handstand and hired a handstand coach. In the first lesson, the coach told her: “Most people….think that if they work hard, they should be able to master a handstand in about two weeks. The reality is that it takes about six months of daily practice. If you think you should be able to do it in two weeks, you’re just going to end up quitting.” Unrealistic beliefs on scope – often hidden and undiscussed – kill high standards. To achieve high standards yourself or as part of a team, you need to form and proactively communicate realistic beliefs about how hard something is going to be – something this coach understood well.
·Change is the only constant
Bezos says he is kept on his toes by customers who are always expecting more and are forever dissatisfied with what’s at hand. He writes: “People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’. I see that cycle of improvement happening at a faster rate than ever before………You cannot rest on your laurels in this world. Customers won’t have it.”
·High standards are contagious
According to him, high standards are contagious and teachable. “I believe high standards are teachable. In fact, people are pretty good at learning high standards simply through exposure. High standards are contagious. Bring a new person onto a high standards team, and they’ll quickly adapt. The opposite is also true. If low standards prevail, those too will quickly spread. And though exposure works well to teach high standards, I believe you can accelerate that rate of learning by articulating a few core principles of high standards, which I hope to share in this letter,” he wrote.
·High standards help build better products and services
His single-minded focus on setting and delivering high standards is tough to achieve, but it has plenty of rewards to offer. Bezos says that firstly, a culture of high standards helps build better products and services. Secondly, people are drawn to high standards. As if to say that it is more fun to work when the stakes are high!
He sums it up: “Once you’ve tasted high standards, there’s no going back.”