In his recent annual letter to shareholders, Bezos revealed his strategy for making meetings more productive and inevitably more successful. And with Bezos' three simple rules, you too can become a master of meetings.
"We try to create teams that are no larger than can be fed by two pizzas," Bezos said. "We call that the two-pizza team rule."
With the classic "too many cooks in the kitchen" mentality, Bezos works to eliminate the confusion and difficulty of having too many opinions in one room, which wastes time and ultimately can make a group more divisive.
Bezos has eliminated the presentation tool at Amazon headquarters and replaced them with six-page, "narratively structed memos."
"It has real sentences and topic sentences and verbs and nouns -- it's not just bullet points," he said.
Bezos also claimed that the memos can take up to a week to craft.
"The great memos are written and rewritten, shared with colleagues who are asked to improve the work, set aside for a couple of days, and then edited again with a fresh mind. They simply can't be done in a day or two."
Bezos starts each meeting by giving team members a half hour to actually read the prepared memo prior to discussing it.
Bezos claimed that executives, "just like high school kids," will act as though they have read the memo, regardless of whether or not they actually have.
"Because we're busy. And so, you've got to actually carve out the time for the memo to get read -- and that's what the first half hour of the meeting is for," he said. "And then everyone has actually read the memo, they're not just pretending to have read the memo."
Everybody sits around the table, and we read silently ... and then we discuss it."
Implementing Bezos' three simple rules could help not only increase productivity but make meetings seem less dreadful and boring. And, let's face it, nobody truly enjoys PowerPoint anyway.
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