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Jeff Bezos says using this phrase can make teams twice as productive

Marguerite Ward
Peter Foley | Bloomberg | Getty Images. Beyond Blue Apron, Amazon could pose a threat to future IPOs and bring down retail valuations in a big way.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is a lot more hands-on than you might expect.

Though he oversees the direction of a $433 billion enterprise, he pays very close attention to the inner workings of the company, according to Brad Stone's unofficial biography, "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon" and multiple reports citing company insiders.

Since he makes so many decisions each day, both big picture and detail-oriented, Bezos developed a phrase he says helps him navigate his business more quickly.

It's "disagree and commit," and Bezos says every professional should start using it.

"This phrase will save a lot of time," Bezos writes in Amazon's 2017 annual shareholder letter.

Here's how it works: If you feel strongly about an idea, but don't have a group's consensus or full agreement, ask your colleagues to take a chance on you.

"If you have conviction on a particular direction even though there's no consensus," Bezos writes, "it's helpful to say, 'Look, I know we disagree on this but will you gamble with me on it? Disagree and commit?'"

Employees can use this strategy to ask their colleagues or managers to run with an idea they feel strongly about. On the other hand, it can also be used to express hesitance over an idea, but communicate trust in the person executing it.

"I disagree and commit all the time," Bezos says.

In one instance, he says, he disagreed with his team about moving forward with one Amazon Studios original production, worried it wouldn't be interesting enough to viewers or might be too complicated to execute.

But because he trusted them and wanted to save time, he went for it.

He wrote, "I disagree and commit and hope it becomes the most watched thing we've ever made."

Using "disagree and commit" cuts the time it takes teams to make decisions in half, if not more, according to Bezos. It helps curtail long meetings and debates.

It's also a way to be honest and supportive, two traits one top Silicon Valley CEO coach says are crucial to running a great team.

"It's a genuine disagreement of opinion, a candid expression of my view," Bezos says, "a chance for the team to weigh my view, and a quick, sincere commitment to go their way."

Check out the 12 books that helped form billionaire Jeff Bezos' leadership style .



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