What drives your workforce? What style of leadership your workforce best identifies with? Do you follow set rules and principles?
Amazon seems to have figured out the answers to all the above mentioned questions.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is one of the most followed business world leaders. While mentioning Amazon's remarkable success, he says- "We use our Leadership Principles every day, whether we're discussing ideas for new projects or deciding on the best approach to solving a problem. It is just one of the things that makes Amazon peculiar."
Amazon is a leading competitor when it comes to the E-commerce industry. From bookselling to toys to cloud computing, Amazon has excelled at everything. No, we are not endorsing Amazon but instead tipping you to get inspired by their leadership principles.
We at Vantage Circle also like to believe; leadership is a quality that is followed not only by decision-makers but also by every individual contributing to an organization's success.
Every company has its own unique
culture and ethics to follow, and so does Amazon. It has a specific culture of hiring and developing skilled leaders by relying on their 14 Amazon leadership principles to guide and shape their business decisions. We believe focusing on these principles will also help take your business to greater heights with a distinctive entrepreneurial, cutting-edge, along with innovative culture.
As Peter Economy said, "having a strong set of values can pave the way towards success."
Whether it is decision making, brainstorming, problem-solving, or even hiring, an organization needs to set its own principles. If you want to know more about the 14 Amazon leadership principles and implement them in your workplace for business growth, keep reading.
14 Amazon Leadership Principles For Business Growth
"Leaders start with the customer and work behind the scene. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although Amazon leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers."
Jeff Bezos believes, amidst all strategies, customer obsession is the healthiest and most effective. Hence, it tops the list of Amazon leadership principles.
Amazon began to "Obsess over Customers" in 1997 and turned their garage based industry into one of the leading companies in the world. Amazon leaders know their customers and their wants. They give attention to the finest details and respect customers’ feedback. Amazon Prime, Amazon Web Series, and Washington Post- these are the classic examples of Customer Obsession in the history of Amazon's success.
"Amazon Leaders are owners. They think long term and don't sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say, "that's not my job."
Amazon and its leaders do not believe in conventional ideas; instead, they believe in ownership. Everyone is responsible for everybody's actions, reactions, mistakes, and achievements. There are no blame games but sheer teamwork, which is a sign of a good leadership principle. If followed, we believe this principle can do wonders for employees' job satisfaction and motivation.
Invent and Simplify
"Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to simplify. They are externally aware, seek fresh ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by "not invented here. As we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time."
It's not an experiment if you know it's going to work.
What is precisely Invent and Simplify?
Well, Amazon leaders frequently indulge in doing new things. It can be anything, a new scale, new products, new platforms, which is what 'invent' as a leadership principle stands for. On the other hand, 'simplify' as a principle means to make things easier, quicker, and cheaper for better efficiency. And indeed, who wouldn't want to implement such a principle for better and faster business growth, no?
Are Right, a Lot
"Leaders are right a lot. They have strong business judgment and good instincts."
The fourth principle surprises people, because they often ask, 'how do we do that'? To this Jeff Bezos answers- "You're not going to be right all the time, but I think with practice, you can be right more often."
One's chances of being 'right' solely depend on their ability to analyze multiple viewpoints and understand the bigger picture than being restricted to their own beliefs.
Learn and Be Curious
"Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them."
This is a simple principle to understand. It asks you if you are the type of leader who is always learning and improving. Every Amazon leader keeps itself updated with new trends and developments in their business fields. As a leader, are you open to doing new things? Are you aware of the recent trends and developments?
Hire and Develop the Best
"Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice."
The sixth principle denotes primarily about excellent hiring. Leaders must know to choose the right people who are exceptionally talented and interested in helping and growing in an organization.
A good leader knows to hire the best people, mentor them, and recognize strong performers. Valuing people and providing regular feedback is a quality every Amazon leader possesses!
Insist on the Highest Standards
"Leaders are continually raising the bar and driving their teams to deliver high-quality products, services, and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed, so they stay fixed."
When you have high standards as a leader, you make high demands for yourself and the products and services you work on. Amazon leaders maintain the standards through service level agreements (SLAs), a set of agreed upon standards at which every product or service functions. With the help of SLA, even a terrible outcome will outperform industry norms.
"Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers."
'Think big' as a principle refers to being ambitious and set new goals beyond boundaries.
Amazon leaders think big and can:
- Turn problems into opportunities
- Stay positive
- Plan what is possible, and not about what's impossible
- Become fearless
- Be creative
A radical approach and ability to take risks when necessary is a sign of thinking big. Amazon leaders consistently work on new ideas and encourage employees with a bold mission to help them reach their goals that fit into the long-term plan. A good leader looks at the bigger picture and new perspectives to heighten customer satisfaction levels.
Bias for Action
"Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. Amazon values calculated risk-taking attitude."
Wondering what "Bias for Action" actually means? It means, even when leaders are uncertain, they are not afraid to make decisions and take necessary actions. Amazon leaders move past research and put analysis into action.
"We try not to spend money on things that don't matter to customers. Frugality breeds resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention. There are no extra points for headcount, budget size, or fixed expense."
If you are frugal you are likely to spend less money and still give your best at your job even with minimal resources; this is what "frugality" stands for.
It is not that Amazon is cheap, but successful Amazon leaders like to believe that creativity and innovation can be achieved with constraints. Even if you're not saving money but saving time, resources, and person-hours, you can still become a "frugal" leader.
"Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best."
The definition of this principle is self-explanatory. A good leader must be attentive and treat everyone with respect, whether an employee or an interviewee.
Amazon leaders are not afraid to show their faults and are classified as "vocally self-critical" because they garner everyone's trust by accepting their flaws and vulnerabilities. This principle also states that a leader must ensure best-in-class business practices and that their colleagues seek to meet them.
"Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, and audit frequently. No task is beneath them."
This principle is somewhat similar to "bias for action." While doing a task, one must concrete on what they're doing and then work on it. I.e., Research, Think, and Act. Amazon leaders know their details. They tend to "dive deep" into their research and then act upon it.
Dave Anderson, a blogger and an ex-employee of Amazon, said, "Trust yet verify" is a favorite Amazon phrase. We care deeply that leaders keep a careful eye on what they own, and know ways to audit their space. If something doesn't make sense, our leaders need to have the ability (and interest) to dive in and figure out what's going on. I love when I ask questions of people, and they can go four or five levels deep, and keep getting more excited because the details are actually interesting to them."
Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
"Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly."
"To have a backbone" means to have strength as per the English idiom, but as per Amazon leadership principles, "having a backbone" denotes standing up for your ideas.
Amazon leaders fight for their ideas diligently without hurting anyone's sentiments or dignity- A quality every leader must-have. As a leader, what do you do when your idea gets canceled over someone else's idea? Do you agree with them or work in a team for ideas to work unanimously.
"Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle."
The fourteenth and the last principle is "delivering results" and also the most important of all. All other principles are merely building blocks for leaders to attain this principle.
Going by the words of the principle- "they rise to the occasion," which means you succeed in what you do- you've shown yourself to be a leader.
Every Amazon leader focuses on delivering results. From customer satisfaction to employee satisfaction, a leader must ensure that they provide the final product with the utmost sincerity. A successful business is a result of a successful leader.
It is known to all- one size doesn't fit all. Some of these Amazon leadership principles might not apply to you; nevertheless, you can customize them according to your personal preferences or company requirements.
The 14 Amazon leadership principles mentioned above are available on their website, too, and we have jotted them down for you with near verbatim. Please don't hesitate to tell us which of these principles you find relevant and would like to implement? Please let us know in the comment section below.