Think Like Amazon
Think Like Amazon
Mar 29, 2021
Implementing separable, single-threaded Ownership with Alejandro Bethlen
Play • 29 min

Alejandro Bethlen spent 8 years at Amazon, first as a general manager for multiple Amazon US Retail teams and then in key executive and program roles in Amazon EU. In our interview, Alejandro expounds on Amazon’s approach to separable, single-threaded leadership and shares examples of how it sped up decision making for organizations. Alejandro pulls back the curtain to share how maintaining a single-threaded leadership culture can be difficult, particularly within young organizations and that these scenarios often call for identifying one-way and two-way door decisions.


Since leaving Amazon last year, Alejandro has stepped into the role of CEO at The Bouqs, and he shares how he has applied a single-threaded leadership structure in goal setting and organizational architecture at his new company. Listen to the full conversation to hear more about the advantages and tradeoffs of single-threaded leadership and what ups and downs you might expect when implementing this approach in your team. 


Mentioned in the podcast:


The Lab Consulting:

The Bouqs:

Alejando Bethlen on LinkedIn:


More from the episode:


2:45 – Why pushing decision rights down through the organization becomes increasingly important as a company grows

6:30 – How Amazon’s single-threaded ownership helps category teams make quick, dynamic decisions

8:30 – The importance of establishing trust in creating a single-threaded leadership culture

11:06 – When following separable, single-threaded decision ownership can be more difficult

14:05 – Pitfalls to avoid when setting up a single-threaded ownership structure

15:49 – 1-way and 2-way door decisions

20:40 – Why focus is critical to a single-threaded leadership model

22:37 – Implementing a single-threaded-leader structure outside of Amazon 

25:40 – How to align single-threaded structure with strategic growth objectives 

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