The Amazon CEO doesn’t care how smart his employees are. For him, it’s all about a track record
Wanted: A kick-ass track record.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos isn’t enamoured with that Harvard degree on your resume — unless it comes with a great track record. “It’s not about intelligence, per se, or motivating people, or strategic vision, or any of the usual suspects. It’s much more tangible…” Suzy Welch, wife of former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, recalled in a recent interview with CNBC that Bezos had previously told her in 2013. According to Welch, Bezos said: “‘I don’t care how smart they are. I want to see a track record of hard decisions that ended up being right.”
Deborah Searcy, a professor of business at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business, tells Moneyish that Bezos may be picking up on behaviors associated with the quality of conscientiousness.
“Conscientiousness is the single biggest predictor of workplace success, and that boils down to showing up when you say you’re going to show up, doing what you say you’re going to go, and doing what you’re told to do,” Searcy says. That can help give way to the kind of decision-making skills that ultimately yield an employee who is “right” more often than not.
Career coach Susan Ginsberg O’Sullivan of Go Coaching notes that, “the smartest person doesn’t always get things done.” As a former manager herself, she adds that she “always [looks] for people who are resourceful, have enthusiasm, passion, and at the end of the day, can get things done.”
Jeff Bezos isn’t the only exec who has revealed what makes an ideal team member. Here are a few others:
- Jeff Weiner: LinkedIn’s CEO wants three things in employees: Workers who “dream big,” “know how to have fun,” and “get s–t done.”
- Dylan Lauren: The founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar and daughter of fashion kingpin Ralph Lauren says she wants outgoing, gregarious employees. “We tend to hire entertainment industry people. We have people on megaphones on Saturdays, making jokes,” she shared with Leaders Magazine in 2011. “So they get to be expressive.”
- Elon Musk: Two of the most important qualities to the Tesla CEO are problem-solving skills, and attitude in the workplace. Tesla has been known to use riddles in its job interviews to probe candidates’ logic skills, though, “I’m not necessarily looking for someone who has brilliant analytical ability if their job is going to assembling hardware,” Musk has said.What’s more, Musk cares about how people act toward one another in his office. He has a strict “no-a–holes policy,” because, “otherwise your job is going to be quite miserable.”
- Sheryl Sandberg: The COO of Facebook says that her social network is looking for one thing: “builders.” In 2015, she told Quora: “We believe our journey at Facebook is only 1% done so we want people who can help us build technology, products and our business into the future. We don’t look for a specific background or skill-set when we make hiring decisions… We find people with great skills and abilities who care about our mission of making the world more open and connected and who share our core values: be open, focus on impact, and move fast.”
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