Jeff Bezos kot novi Steve Jobs?

Glede na mojo današnjo (in tudi siceršnjo) izkušnjo z Amazonom bi naslovna primerjava kar znala držati. Ker je dostava naročenega blaga zamujala že 10 dni, sem na Amazon poslal email z vprašanjem, kdaj jo lahko pričakujem. V roku 15 minut sem dobil odgovor, da se opravičujejo za zamudo in da so pravkar dali naročilo za dostavo istega blaga (z novim rokom dostave) in da če prejšnja pošiljka slučajno pride v vmesnem času, naj je ne prevzamem ali pa jo brezplačno pošljem nazaj. In seveda še standardno povabilo, če lahko odkljukam ali sem bil z njihovim odgovorom zadovoljen. Sem bil. Kot običajno.

Kot v naslovni zgodbi Bloomberg Businessweeka dobro opisuje Brad Stone, je ta hiter odziv Amazona posledica načina vodenja, ki ga je vzpostavil lastnik in glavni menedžer Jeff Bezos. Način, ki na las spominja na tistega, s katerim je Steve Jobs vzdrževal visoko raven discipline in delovne etike (nekateri bi morda rekli strahovlade) v Appleu, hkrati pa delal najboljše produkte v branži in ustvaril najvrednejše podjetje na svetu.

Ko do odgovornih v Amazonu prispe forwardiran email Jeffa Bezosa z določeno vsebino, običajno zavlada panika. Ta vsebina pa je zelo preprosta – zgolj “?” (vprašaj):

Within Amazon.com there’s a certain type of e-mail that elicits waves of panic. It usually originates with an annoyed customer who complains to the company’s founder and chief executive officer. Jeff Bezos has a public e-mail address, jeff@amazon.com. Not only does he read many customer complaints, he forwards them to the relevant Amazon employees, with a one-character addition: a question mark.

When Amazon employees get a Bezos question mark e-mail, they react as though they’ve discovered a ticking bomb. They’ve typically got a few hours to solve whatever issue the CEO has flagged and prepare a thorough explanation for how it occurred, a response that will be reviewed by a succession of managers before the answer is presented to Bezos himself. Such escalations, as these e-mails are known, are Bezos’s way of ensuring that the customer’s voice is constantly heard inside the company.

Bezos fits comfortably into this mold. His drive and boldness trumps other leadership ideals, such as consensus building and promoting civility. While he can be charming and capable of great humor in public, in private he explodes into what some of his underlings call nutters. A colleague failing to meet Bezos’s exacting standards will set off a nutter. If an employee does not have the right answers or tries to bluff, or takes credit for someone else’s work, or exhibits a whiff of internal politics, uncertainty, or frailty in the heat of battle—a blood vessel in Bezos’s forehead bulges and his filter falls away. He’s capable of hyperbole and harshness in these moments and over the years has delivered some devastating rebukes. Among his greatest hits, collected and relayed by Amazon veterans:

“Are you lazy or just incompetent?”

Some Amazon employees advance the theory that Bezos, like Jobs, Gates, and Oracle (ORCL) co-founder Larry Ellison, lacks empathy. As a result, he treats workers as expendable resources without taking into account their contributions. That in turn allows him to coldly allocate capital and manpower and make hyperrational business decisions, where another executive might let emotion and personal relationships figure into the equation. They also acknowledge that Bezos is primarily consumed with improving the company’s performance and customer service and that personnel issues are secondary. “This is not somebody who takes pleasure at tearing someone a new a-‍-hole,” says Kim Rachmeler, an executive who worked at Amazon for more than a decade. “He is not that kind of person. Jeff doesn’t tolerate stupidity, even accidental stupidity.”

Vir: Bloomberg Businessweek

Kot rečeno, tovrsten način vodenja, kakorkoli krut in poniževalen do sodelavcev ali bolje rečeno podrejenih, je Amazon povzdignil v največjo spletno trgovino s 750 milijardami $ letnega prometa. Številne pritožbe o krutih razmerah, v katerih delajo zaposleni v Amazonovih skladiščih širom sveta, to zgodbo o uspehu relativizirajo. Tako kot psihoza v Appleu, ko ga je vodil še Steve Jobs, ali kot delovne razmere v Foxconn Cityju, kjer kitajski delavci za fičnike sestavljajo ultra drage Applove iPhone in kjer so zaradi nevzdržnih razmer pogosti samomori.

Problem je le v tem, da so Applovi produkti in Amazonove storitve vrhunske … in da ob bolj “humanem” načinu vodenja morda ne bi bile. Ne vem.

Priporočam, da preberete celotno zgodbo v Bloomberg Businessweeku.

One response

  1. Je treba pogledat, koliko delavcev zapusti Apple ali Amazon letno.. Kolikor vem, Applovi delavci ostajajo zvesti in so na svoje delo zelo ponosni. Imajo tudi obcutek pripadnosti in lojalnost do svojega delodajalca. Tisti, ki ‘odpadejo’, je zanje verjetno bolje, da niso tam, ker tega pritiska ne bi prenesli… verjetno pa tudi ne bi doprinesli. Meni se zdi, da je Bezosov vprasaj zelo preprost nacin za spodbujanje kreativnosti delavcev pri iskanju hitrih in ucinkovitih resitev. Morda so tisti delavci, ki delajo v bolj “humanih” firmah manj ucinkoviti, saj imajo cas, da prelagajo resitev na tiste, ki naj bi jih bili sposobni resevati.

    Po moje je delati pri Applu ali na Amazonu bolj podobno vojaskemu sistemu… red se ve, pravila so znana, in vse skupaj funkcionira, pa tudi na sestankih ne posedajo cele dneve… Jobs je menda postal nervozen ze, ce je sestanek trajal vec kot 15 minut.

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