Amazon 8th Principle: Bias for Action

The eigthth Leadership Principle of the Amazon Way is:

Bias for Action
Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.

There’s a common misunderstanding about action: that we must know the exact right action to take before doing anything. This way of thinking leads “analysis paralysis” and inaction.

Bezos is not the type to fall into this trap. Though he’s well aware that taking the wrong action will have negative consequences, he doesn’t mind: “If you decide that you’re going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table.”

As Amazon has grown, Bezos has encouraged his employees to err on the side of action. Sometimes this has resulted in pure brilliance (the development of one-click shopping). Other times it has resulted in total failure (the development of Amazon Auction, which couldn’t compete with Ebay).

Bezos doesn’t mind the occasional misstep: “We are willing to go down a bunch of dark passageways, and occasionally we find something that really works.” It’s all part of the Amazon company philosophy.

Summing-up: It is only through deliberate action that we can bend the universe to our will. Be brave. The price in action is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.

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