Less is More. There is so much truth to this statement. Let me explain why. I recently read the biography of Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. What an incredible story about his journey to the top along with the other ‘greats’ of Silicon Valley, including Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. One important thing they all had in common was their courage, ambition and innovative drive.
In the story of Amazon, the author discusses Jeff Bezos’ approach to success and how he mentored his most senior leaders. His philosophy is that less communication in the workplace is better. Are we all cringing right now? The horror of LESS communication in the workplace?? Bezos discovered that too much communication with his managers stifled them and minimized their ability to lead and make important decisions. His view was that too many meetings, one-on-one sessions and status reports forced his team to spend more time dealing with conflict resolution and less time innovating and being strategic. That really resonated with me. It made complete sense. We live in an era where communication between managers and employees is top priority. While I agree that it is important to establish a consistent outlet for communicating when the need arises, over-communication can be detrimental. I’m not just talking about ‘micro-managing’ but over-communication across the board. There are intrinsic repercussions and lost productivity when the focus on communication is weighed too heavy.
The truth is, employees want to feel empowered, trusted and respected. They want their leaders to have confidence in them and believe they can do the job without the employees feeling the need to over-indulge their bosses with too much detailed information. Jeff Bezos (and Steve Jobs) banned PowerPoint in team meetings. Instead, he required ‘narratives’ where employees would provide their status or proposals in the form of a press release. I thought that was VERY cool. In other words, this is your one shot to share important information, so make it count!
Now there will come a time when employees may falter in their performance, mismanage their time or lose perspective due to unexpected issues or distractions. It’s completely normal. We all burn out at some point and it should be viewed as a healthy checkpoint to be re-evaluated. Good bosses will recognize this pattern and provide their employees with an opportunity to ‘reset’. We’re all human. Now, some individuals simply may not have the capacity to improve their situation and decide it’s time to move on all together. That’s ok too. Only that person knows when that time comes.
So if you’re at the point over-communication has taken over your work life (endless meetings, emails and status reports), you have to ask yourself. Is this all just insane counter-productivity? The answer is YES!
References: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon By Brad Stone (Awesome story)