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Strategic Discipline Blog

How to Create Clarity, Growth, Momentum – Your Flywheel

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Jun 15, 2020

amazon-culture-of-innovation-5-638Clarity has its rewards.

Contrary to what professors teach at the Harvard Business School, Jeff Bezos’s believes too much communication and coordination between and within business units slows things down.

Communication and coordination nurture teamwork and get employees to buy into a company’s strategy.

Bezos feels the opposite, according to Bezonomics: How Amazon Is Changing Our Lives and What the World's Best Companies Are Learning.

Bezos believes bringing everyone up to date on a project, lengthens its gestation. In 2002, Bezos instituted his legendary two-pizza teams for software development. Project teams would include no more than ten people, a group small enough that they could be fed by two pizzas. The intention:  Keep bureaucracy down and time-wasting corporate communications to a minimum.

“Our overall approach to teams has evolved slightly,” says Amazon’s Greg Hart, “but the basic organizing principle is pushing responsibility and autonomy down to the smallest possible atomic unit, which to as great a degree as possible has complete control over the success or failure of what they’re working on.”

This structure would seem like a recipe for disaster. However, this principle agrees with Marcus Buckingham’s Nine Lies About Work - #1 People Care Which Company They Work For.

(When the data is examined closely, the conclusion is: while people might care which company they join, they don’t care which company they work for. The truth is that, once there, people care which team they’re on.)

This works at Amazon for one reason only. Amazon follows Jeff Bezos tenets of Bezonomics, providing Amazon’s independent groups a beacon in the fog, a set of principles to guide their work.  

The foundational principles of the Bezonomics philosophy are customer obsession, extreme innovation, and long-term management.The Flywheel Good to Great-1

Every CEO claim to follow some or most of these principles. Most fail to execute them consistently and over long periods.

Why is Amazon different?

Bezos’s secret is his flywheel, the engine driving the three deeply seated values of Bezonomics.  It keeps the organization true to its principles. It is a way of thinking, a mental model that influences the behavior of Amazonians.

Whether someone at Amazon is creating a new reading device called the Kindle, a new video streaming service, a voice recognition assistant named Alexa, or slicker ways to buy on


Clarity of Your Flywheel

How does Amazon’s flywheel bring clarity?

Brian Dumaine, in Bezonomics: How Amazon Is Changing Our Lives and What the World's Best Companies Are Learning from It shares, “ It is the concept of the flywheel, which every Amazon manager knows by heart, that allows this giant corporation to operate as a federation of independent nations. Employees don’t have to wonder what their role is or what to do. Their job is to push the flywheel a little harder every day. It’s a true north that gives them the freedom to act autonomously.”

Jeff Bezos realized, “if he could get his employees to focus their attention on any of these components—traffic, sellers, selection, or customer experience—that would distribute more energy to all of the spots on the flywheel. The whole system grows. Bezos understood these linkages beautifully.”

Hiring Model at Amazonamazon hiring event

So integral is the flywheel to Amazon’s corporate culture that job candidates are expected to understand the concept and explain how their work there will contribute to spinning it. As a blog on the company’s corporate website puts it: “Anyone who has worked at Amazon for more than a couple weeks has heard the term ‘flywheel.’

In fact, I suspect that many, if not most, people who interview here discuss the flywheel as part of their onsite interviews. So, getting your head around Amazon’s concept of the ‘virtuous cycle’ prior to interviews here is a good idea.”

What’s it all means?

As a Scaling Up business coach, Positioning Systems believes in the power of meeting rhythms discipline. It unleashes powerful forces to grow your business.

Watch as Collins explains in 50 seconds how the Flywheel is the inflection point for companies moving from Good to Great

What Bezos believes and demonstrates at Amazon, is, clarity of purpose, actions, focus on your flywheel, reduce unnecessary meetings that slow your business growth.

Clarity is perhaps the most misunderstood, and abused principle in business.  Our people are often confused about their roles, our company’s mission, purpose, and values.

Your flywheel provides your business and most importantly your people with Clarity.

If your business struggles to grow revenue, provide your team with clarity of direction and purpose.  Playing to Win, Outthink the Competition, and Your Flywheel are strategic tools to provide clarity and increase revenue. Contact us today to schedule an exploratory meeting.

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

To build an enduring great organization, requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, to produce superior results, and make a distinctive impact in the world.

3 Disciplines of Execution (Strategic Discipline)-2Discipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.

A winning habit starts with 3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics and Meeting Rhythms.   Forecasting, accountability, individual, and team performance improve dramatically.

Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.

Let Positioning Systems help your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:












Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $250M) business Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing!  Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

the-flywheel-and-the-doom-loop-2NEXT BLOG – Flywheel Failure – Circuit City

In Jim Collins, Turning the Flywheel, Collins shares the demise of Circuit City, how after CEO Alan Wurtzel left, their executive team fell into the doom loop. Circuit City had developed a Flywheel extension, CarMax, but failed to realize it.  This story, and Flywheel Extensions, next blog.

Topics: Build up to Breakthrough Flywheel, strategy decisions, Strategy - How, Turning the Flywheel, Flywheel, bezonomics, brian dumaine

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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