When Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post, he certainly provided an infusion of cash that helped the paper turn around its financials. But as former editor Marty Baron shared, Bezos provided more than money.
Bezos was able to inject a business perspective into the paper and help the leadership translate their “good ideas” into an actionable strategy. It wasn’t enough to say that they had to grow; Bezos helped them define that notion into a plan to increase their online presence, become a national newspaper, and write stories that attracted younger readers. He also challenged their practice of offering news to people for free.
Bezos summed his marching orders for the paper into this simple mantra: “Be right. Be riveting. Ask people to pay.” After setting the vision and helping to craft the strategy to achieve it, Bezos left the leadership free to execute it without further meddling.
It’s a gift to give clarity to your team and then get out of their way. Try to provide both aspects to those you lead.