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According to Jeff Bezos’s former assistant, top CEOs have two qualities you can learn too

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Top CEOs typically share two characteristics, says leadership coach Ann Hiatt. She knows them very well: from 2002 to 2005 she was an assistant to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, after which she spent twelve years at Google, where she worked with Marissa Mayer and Eric Schmidt. Today she is a leadership coach for CEOs and the author of “Bet on Yourself.”

In the years he has worked with highly successful executives, Hiatt has found that all of them “without a doubt” display incredible resilience. This is something they had to learn by trying and overcoming mistakes or failures. In addition, according to her, these people are usually extremely curious and inquisitive. “Everyone asks 100 times more questions than a normal person,” Hiatt told Business Insider.

Ann Hiatt says: Many believed that they had to be like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos to be considered visionaries or innovators. “Normal people” could also learn to be resilient and curious, both of which would help them in their own careers.

Especially early in their career, some people find it hard to ask too many questions because they’re afraid of appearing naïve or inexperienced, says Hiatt. “But when you realize that the smartest leaders, the best bosses, do it 100 times more than normal people, then you have to allow yourself to do it too.”

Precisely because they are so curious, great thinkers “look for weak points as often as possible,” he adds. According to her, “weak connections” are contacts with which people share, for example, a common interest or other connection. They can be acquaintances or friends of friends. In a professional context, these are people you don’t work closely with, but whose work has an impact on yours. Studies have shown that these weak connections can be an important source of job information or even lead to a rise up the corporate ladder.

Depending on the coach, resilience or endurance, that is, the ability to bounce back from setbacks or obstacles, can also be learned through practice. She herself is very shy by nature. However, working at Amazon or Google forced her to leave her comfort zone, since her shyness was not tolerated there. Therefore, Hiatt asks that the challenges be met. For example, taking on tasks that initially seem uncomfortable or volunteering to work with people she doesn’t normally work with.

According to her, top executives think like normal people, only they are braver. After observing people like Bezos, Hiatt realized that the thought process and problem-solving strategies they use to make decisions are also accessible to other people, she explains.

“Jeff Bezos, who launched into space, started out with a crazy idea like, ‘Hey, how about I buy this little piece of land in Texas and then hire some really smart people to talk to me about space,'” Hiatt says. . “Yes, they are brave, but the process of finding solutions for them is the same as it is for us, normal people. They literally point to Mars,” he added.

This text was translated from English by Marlene Schulze. You can find the original here.

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