Communicate your vision like's CEO

March 16, 2013

Wanted: Woman who could get me out of a third world prison.

This is how Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of, articulated what he was looking for in a wife. Before this explanation, he started with the adjective “resourceful.”  

Bezos wanted to marry someone resourceful.
Someone creative with a bias towards action.
Someone who could solve problems. 
Someone a bit tenacious.
Bezos knew if someone asked, “So, what are you looking for in a mate?” he could not answer, “Resourcefulness.” 
That’s odd.
Not that Bezos isn’t odd, but still. 
That reply raises more questions than it answers.
It’s not very concrete. 
So Jeff spent time thinking about it. Like all good nerds do, he developed some algorithms and made some charts and graphs. He dissected his initial thought. He dug deeper.  He finally landed on an elaboration of “resourcefulness” that accurately described what he was looking for.    
Someone who could (conceivably) bust me out of a third world prison. 
That was his definition of resourceful.
The third world prison scenario paints a richer character portrait of the ideal woman.
Much richer.     
By re-thinking and then re-framing his vision, Jeff Bezos communicated more effectively.
Much more effectively.
And he did it with only 11 words (more or less).
This is a vision that can spread easily. 
It describes a lot without saying a lot.   
What about you?
How well do you communicate your vision of the future?
How much time do you spend thinking about how well you communicate your vision of the future? 
Is your vision vivid?
Or is it corporate speak including “operational excellence,” “ global market leadership,” and/or “synergy” ?
Are there metaphors you can use - which may or may not include prisons - to help your team grasp your vision better?
Bezos effectively articulated what he was looking for in a spouse. 
And it worked. 
He is married to the same woman after 20 years.
No… she hasn’t had to bust him out of a third world prison. 
But she could.
El Presidente

Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente of Red Angle, a Spanish language training firm focused exclusively on the construcción industry. Hartmann has been successful improving Safety, Productivity and Profitability by speaking Spanish on the jobsite. Hartmann lived in Guadalajara, México, during his undergraduate studies and later earned his MBA. Hartmann also teaches Construction Spanish at Purdue University’s Building Construction Management Program. He has authored two books: Spanish Twins: Start Speaking Spanish on the Construction Site with Words You Already Know and Safety Spanish: Simple Spanish Skills for Solving Safety Problems. Hartmann would love to hear your thoughts digitally at or at 630.234.7321.