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Jeff Bezos describes one change some Amazon employees hated

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Source: Getty

Amazon (AMZN) is one of the most powerful companies on Earth, and its CEO Jeff Bezos is among the richest people alive. On their way to top, the company and its leader have had to negotiate a number of internal disagreements.

But it’s how they have resolved those disagreements that ensures Amazon, and Bezos, continue to dominate the tech world.

In a letter to shareholders Wednesday, Bezos said one of the major disputes within Amazon’s walls was whether the company should invite third-party sellers to directly compete with the online retailer through its product detail pages.

“Many smart, well-intentioned Amazonians were simply not at all aligned with the direction,” Bezos explained.

Displaying items from third-party party sellers is incredibly common now. However, some “Amazonians” may have questioned how the move would impact not only Amazon’s profits, but the overall user experience, as well.

The arguments could have resulted in a back-and-forth that dragged out for far too long. But instead, the discussion was escalated and quickly resolved.

“‘You’ve worn me down’ is an awful decision-making process,” Bezos said. “It’s slow and de-energizing. Go for quick escalation instead – it’s better.”

In his letter to shareholders Wednesday, Bezos said Amazon has streamlined decision-making processes by immediately escalating issues between intransigent teams to senior-level leaders.

It seems like a pretty simple idea, but as Bezos points out, many disputes within organizations like Amazon can lead to one side of an argument simply wearing down the other until the opposition gives in.

“Sometimes teams have different objectives and fundamentally different views,” Bezos explained in his letter. “They are not aligned. No amount of discussion, no number of meetings will resolve that deep misalignment.

“Without escalation, the default dispute resolution mechanism for this scenario is exhaustion. Whoever has more stamina carries the decision.”

In other words, don’t bother fighting in circles over something you’ll never agree on. Instead, move the decision process up the ladder and continue pushing forward rather than stagnating with one issue.

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Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.