Categories
Self-Improvement

Amazon Leadership Principles That Can Help Your Company Thrive

The principles of an organization are the fundamentals on which it exists and functions. These principles are the deciding factor of an organization’s success or failure.

One of the distinctive features of Amazon is that they apply their principles every day to all that they do, be it discussing new ideas, problem solving or customer service.

Following is the list of leadership principles of Amazon and the approach you can take to apply them to your organization:

1. Customer Obsession

Amazon’s definition:

Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over their customers.

How to apply:

Your customer needs should be the first thing to focus on while developing new projects/products in your organization. You can use market intelligence reports and customer feedback to understand their requirements. Every employee should solve customer issues as a top priority.

2. Ownership

Amazon’s definition:

Leaders are owners. They think for the long run 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.”

How to apply:

The hierarchical structure in your organization should accommodate collective responsibility. Everyone should not only owe his piece of work but also of the teams that overlap with their group.

3. Invent and Simplify

Amazon’s definition:

Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to simplify. They are externally aware, look for new 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.

How to apply:

All employees of your organization should have an innovation meeting on their calendar. Put an idea wall/board in every department, let the solutions come from everyone. Reward the simple innovations as they are faster, cheaper, and bring more value.

4. Are Right, A Lot:

Amazon’s definition:

Leaders are very often correct. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.

How to apply:

Follow an open door policy in your organization. All your business decisions should be accessible to counter opinions. Organize open house meetings and let employees freely express dissent on your judgments.

5. Learn and Be Curious

Amazon’s definition:

Leaders are always willing to learn and seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and attempt to explore them.

How to apply:

Learning and Development department of your organization should have training programs arranged for everyone: the millennials, managers, senior executives and others. The culture in your company should embrace new learnings. Encourage the sharing of ideas in meetings, emails and internal forums.

6. Hire and Develop the Best

Amazon’s definition:

With every hire and promotion, leaders raise the bar. They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. They develop leaders and take their role of coaching others very seriously. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.

How to apply:

The recruitment process, on-boarding, and training to the millennials in your organization need to be developed to bring out the best in them. Invest in your best brains through coaching programs, promotion schemes and rewards: design policies that allow them to grow as leaders.

7. Insist on the Highest Standards

Amazon’s definition:

Leaders have relentlessly high standards — many people may think these standards are unreasonably high. Leaders are continually raising the bar and drive 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.

How to apply:

Your business processes and operations should be relentlessly improved. Have business analytics teams to identify the bottlenecks in your system. Business standards, technology, and acceptable quality of product/service delivery to your customers should be upgraded all the time.

8. Think Big

Amazon’s definition:

Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspire results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.

How to apply:

The quarterly and annual goals of your organization in terms of products/services offerings, innovation, customer satisfaction, profit margins should be set as high as possible. Broaden your horizons and have a bigger vision every day.

9. Bias for Action

Amazon’s definition:

Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.

How to apply:

Empower your employees to make decisions. For instance, Ritz-Carlton authorized its front desk service recovery employees to spend up to $2000 to change and correct things for its customers.

10. Frugality

Amazon’s definition:

Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size, or fixed expense.

How to apply:

Restrict the number of resources and funds allocated to projects in your organization to a bare minimum. Try and achieve the deliverables of your business in a restricted time frame with as little assets and budget as possible.

11. Earn Trust

Amazon’s definition:

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.

How to apply:

Ensure that every person in your organization has a defect prevention meeting in their calendar. In these meetings, allow teams to discuss openly the mistakes they committed. Narrowing down to problems that are causing the defects, can help the teams learn quickly: follow the Pareto principle.

12. Dive Deep

Amazon’s definition:

Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics and anecdotes differ. No task is beneath them.

How to apply:

Have a promotion policy that promotes people on how well they know the details of their project, in addition to the work assigned to them. Internal assessments and audits can go a long way in tracking the knowledge of employees.

13. Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit

Amazon’s definition:

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.

How to apply:

Every time you communicate with employees, let them know that with data and analysis they have a right to disagree with their managers. Let your company follow ‘open to discussion’ culture. Follow the ‘5 whys’ approach while making decisions.

14. Deliver Results

Amazon’s definition:

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.

How to apply:

Every project in your organization should set goal-posts/milestones keeping in mind the business requirements. Ensure your organization strictly abides by the deadlines set during project designing.

The above leadership principles can be a good source to evaluate your current standing as a leader. You should take a cue from them and apply them to your business. Do let us know where you stack up against these qualities and how will you be applying them to your organization.

Rohant Zalani

By Rohant Zalani

His passion for writing drew him to the world of freelance writing after a decade of experience in the corporate world. He loves to explore new ideas and has a sharp focus on writing intense research-based long-form articles.

He works as a full-time staff writer at turned twenty and looks to develop practical solutions for problems of business leaders through his posts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *