Jeff Bezos recommends using fear to drive work ethic and innovative-thinking — even when things are going well.
“I constantly remind our employees to be afraid, to wake up every morning terrified,” the Amazon founder wrote in a 1999 shareholder letter. “Our customers have made our business what it is,” he continued, “and we consider them to be loyal to us – right up until the second that someone else offers them a better service.”
For Amazon to remain competitive in the future, employees needed to be scared of no longer being the best and commit to “constant improvement, experimentation and innovation in every initiative.”
Using fear as a motivator is a strategy that has also worked well for others, including Tim Ferris.
Ferris, the best-selling author and podcast host, encourages fear-setting, an exercise where he writes down his fears, what could happen as a result of that fear, and how he’ll prevent that worst-case scenario. He says his biggest wins have been connected to this process that helped condition himself to fail in order to find success.
Also in related news, Amazon just rejected criticism by Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying his repeated claims of poor worker conditions in its fulfillment centers are “inaccurate and misleading.”
“We have been in regular contact with his office and have offered several opportunities for Senator Sanders and his team to tour one of our fulfillment centers,” the company said in a blog post Wednesday. “To date he has still not seen an FC for himself.”
Sanders has been dinging Amazon on Twitter and in public statements for months, claiming the company doesn’t pay its lower-level employees a fair wage. He recently issued a call for Amazon employees to share their experiences in a form that asks, “Have you used public assistance, such as food stamps, Medicaid or subsidized housing, in order to make ends meet?”Do you ever witness anything interesting or exciting? Just take out your phone and send us the exclusive pictures or video and we will pay you cash. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include location, date, involved persons or why it is important and other details.