Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, has proved to be one of the elite entrepreneurs of the digital age. The unique way he looks at the business world has surely contributed to his success--and it's helped him develop a pretty odd yet effective meeting strategy, too.
If conducted properly, a meeting can hold great value. However, we've all sat in those insufferable gatherings that just seem pointless and never-ending. Entire teams or departments are taken away from their work and shuffled into a boardroom or auditorium. A few key people speak and make decisions while the others sit quietly, trying to shrink into their chairs and hoping they aren't called on, or maybe fighting to stay awake.
Meetings have the potential to waste time, drain resources, and worse yet, kill employee morale.
Employees should want to go to meetings. They should enjoy the value that comes from the get-together, while taking pride in participating. Every meeting should have a purpose and not last a minute longer than it takes to get things done.
But we all know that's very rarely the case.
Jeff Bezos has a different strategy, and he's effectively corrected everything that's wrong with the old way of having meetings. It's based on an idea so simple, it's crazy more companies aren't doing it.
You know what makes people happy?
Well, yes, puppies make people happy.
But most people love pizza.
There are so many different kinds of pizza, you can make just about anyone happy, too. Vegetarian or vegan. Gluten-free. Lactose-free. There's a pizza out there for every employee.
Bezos's rule is simple:
Don't plan a meeting in which two pizzas aren't enough to feed everyone.
His meetings are a free flow of ideas; all attendees can share their thoughts. The only people there are the people who absolutely need to be. Every meeting, regardless of the primary topic, remains on task and purposeful.
Bezos is the king of productivity and efficiency. He doesn't like wasting time. He doesn't like large meetings in which a lot is said but nothing is accomplished.
That's why he continues to follow his Two-Pizza Rule, even in a company that has grown to more than 150,000 employees. Reward them with pizza, but use that to remind yourself to keep it lean, agile, and simple.
Is this a different way of approaching company meetings? You bet it is. It may be a dramatic change from your strategy for department or whole-team gatherings, but you can't argue with results. Bezos has built Amazon into the largest internet-based retailer in the world.
With a net worth of approximately $40 billion, he can afford to buy as many pizzas as he wants. Yet for his business meetings, it only takes two.