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Jossie Talks Webinar #9: Lessons from Ann Hiatt, Jeff Bezos' former Executive Business Partner

 

If you weren't able to make it, you can watch the Q&A part here, and below are the key tips from the webinar.

We'll be hosting weekly webinars on various subjects which are impacting our clients and candidates - details of the events will be on both our LinkedIn page and my LinkedIn profile, so make sure you're following us for the latest updates!

 
 
 
 Key takeaways:
 

1. BE FEARLESS
- Don’t let pre-conceived ideas determine your choices – Ann initially didn’t want to work in tech as she didn’t like the thought of it… fast forward to now and she can say she was EA / Business Partner to Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt!
- Trust your instinct and judgment – Ann received a call from a helicopter company which she had used to book a trip for her boss at the time, Jeff Bezos, saying there had been a crash. Ann didn't yet know if it was him but prepared for the worst and  called an emergency board meeting. It later turned out to be him (thankfully he was fine!), but Jeff personally praised the way she acted under pressure. This in turn led to greater trust and with that came more responsibility. Perhaps most importantly, this gave Ann a huge sense of self-belief

2. BE HUMBLE
- The best leaders are grounded
-Don’t be afraid to be the dumbest person in the room – whilst studying for her PHD, Ann learnt the valuable lesson of asking questions regardless if others already knew the answer
- From EA to Business Partner – Ann was poached from her PHD to work at Google where she worked for Marissa Myer as her EA. This was the point in Ann’s career when she changed her style of working from reactive to proactive

3. BE AN INFLUENCER
- Make a suggestion! Often experts who are so close to what they are doing "can't see the wood from the trees", so a novice’s perspective (intelligent naivety) can result in innovation which may otherwise have been overlooked
- “We don't have problems, we have solutions” – opportunities to get to the next step are provided by research solutions. Ask questions you don’t have the answers to because they don’t exist and then provide a solution and an answer!

4. BE CURIOUS
- “If at all possible, say yes” – lean into opportunities even if they are out of your comfort zone and scare you. Ann’s boss at the time, Eric Schmidt learnt to fly a helicopter so he could travel around remote parts of Africa on a business trip
- Are you in your comfort zone? – after 12 years at Google, Ann decided she was
comfortable 90% of the time, at which point she was curious to find a new challenge and move on

5. BE BALANCED
- Learn to say no – it is important to receive as much as you give to your work
- Don’t ‘outwork’ everyone, ‘outcare’ everyone – choose to do things of high impact and quality. 80% of results come from 20% of effort
- Surround yourself with the highest quality people and treat your work as a education process