Amazon Boss Jeff Bezos’ Useless Meetings Rule: What You Need To Know

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Written By adammartelletti

Stop selling and diagnose the problem first.

Are most of the meetings you attend a complete waste of time?

Do you sit in a Zoom call for 45 minutes, but nothing gets accomplished?

You’re not alone – and you might already know, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos declared that any meeting that takes longer than 30 minutes should be cancelled.

What exactly is this “Useless Meetings Rule” and how can it help you improve your workplace productivity? What tips do you need to keep your meetings efficient and effective?

In this article, I’ll discuss Jeff Bezos’ Useless Meetings Rule and what it means for average workers.

I will also provide tips on how to make sure that every minute of your meeting counts!

Two Pizza Rule

One key strategy is using the “Two Pizza Rule” which states that any meeting should be small enough to be fed with two pizzas. This rule helps to ensure that meetings are focused and efficient, as larger meetings are more prone to tangents and distractions.

Narratives

Another strategy is using written documents, such as “narratives” and “press releases,” to articulate ideas and plans. These documents are used to facilitate discussions and decision-making rather than relying on verbal discussions alone. 

Disagree and commit

In addition, Amazon encourages employees to speak up and challenge assumptions using a “disagree and commit.” This process allows for open and honest debate. Still, it ultimately requires individuals to align with a decision and move forward as a team.

Finally, Amazon emphasizes the importance of data-driven decision making, encouraging employees to use data to support their ideas and arguments, which helps to ensure that decisions are based on objective evidence rather than subjective opinions.

Jeff Bezos said: “There is no way to write a six-page narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking.”

Here is an overview of the writing framework Bezos uses:

Title: Choose a clear and concise title that summarizes the main idea of the memo.

Executive summary: In a few sentences, summarize the main points of the memo, giving the reader a sense of what the memo is about without requiring them to read the entire document.

Introduction: Provide context for the memo and explain why it is important.

Body: The main section of the memo, where you present your ideas and arguments in a logical and organized manner. Use clear, concise language and avoid jargon.

Conclusion: Summarize the main points of the memo and state your conclusion or recommendations.

Implications: Consider the potential implications of your ideas and arguments, and explain how they might impact the company or stakeholders.

Action items: Outline any specific actions or next steps that need to be taken as a result of the memo and meeting.

Research & Answers

It is common for there to be conflicting information available on a topic, and this can be especially true when it comes to internal processes and practices at a specific company.

But we’ve done our best to find the most relevant information to support what we’ve seen from other posts and online information.

We found what we thought would be the most reliable source from an ex-employee from Amazon.

Jesse Freeman, who spent five years at Amazon and frequently writes on Medium, describes that the structure of Amazon’s narrative documents (also known as “memos”) aligns with the general structure described in other sources.

Here is our summary of the detailed breakdown of each of the six components he mentions:

Introduction: This section provides some context for the memo and explains why it is important. It may include a brief overview of the problem or opportunity being addressed, as well as the goals of the memo.

Goals: This section outlines the specific goals or objectives of the memo. It should clearly state what the writer hopes to achieve or accomplish through the memo.

Tenets: This section identifies the guiding principles or values that will inform the ideas and recommendations presented in the memo. These may be company values or principles, or they may be specific to the topic at hand.

Current state: This section describes the current situation or problem being addressed. It may include discussing relevant data or information and any relevant background or context.

Lessons learned: This section summarizes any key insights or lessons that have been learned through the process of researching and writing the memo. It may include examples or case studies to illustrate these lessons.

Strategy: This section presents the writer’s ideas and recommendations for addressing the problem or opportunity outlined in the memo. It should be well-supported by evidence and should clearly outline the steps that need to be taken to implement the proposed strategy.

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