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14 Leadership Principles we can Learn from Amazon

The Amazon Way by John Rossman is a wonderful book for anyone interested in 21st Century leadership. If we adopt some of these principles our business will become better and more successful. Here are the 14 leadership principles with my take on each. Obsess over the customer: This is the reason Amazon is so successful. You […]

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The Amazon Way by John Rossman is a wonderful book for anyone interested in 21st Century leadership. If we adopt some of these principles our business will become better and more successful. Here are the 14 leadership principles with my take on each.

Obsess over the customer: This is the reason Amazon is so successful. You have to obsess about the customer and deliver world class value. The customer is always right. Getting first time customers is great but if you want repeat business then you need to obsess about them and out deliver the competition.

Take ownership of results: This is a key leadership principle. This is all about accountability. Just like Harry Truman said, “The buck stops with me.” If you don’t engage in blame and take complete ownership you are a true leader. This will also earn the respect of the team.

Invent and Simplify: When Steve Jobs went to NeXT he wanted everything to be white and he was all about simplification. Yes, invent great products but make sure the user experience is wonderful and slick. Users don’t want to waste their valuable time trying to understand something. 

Leaders are Right-A lot: All true leaders are curious, but they also know that most of the time they have the ability to get things right. Being right is great but I also believe that you should balance this with being curious. Curiosity means you always have a beginner’s mindset. You never think you have learned it all. Always be reading and learning. Keep expanding your horizons by broadening your information intake. Know the experts in your field, connect with them, read their books, read their blogs, listen to their podcasts and document what you learn.

Hire and Develop the best: The only way you can get respect from your team is if you are fair to everyone and don’t play politics. So be fair to your team and treat everyone well. Care personally but challenge directly as mentioned by Kim Scott in Radical Candor. As Jim Collins said get the right people in the bus in the right seats then drive the bus.

Think Big: To me leadership is about three things. The first thing is to dream big and set an audacious vision. Only the leader thinks about the future. The other two are ability to inspire others and lead by example.

Have a bias for action: Action is everything and truly great leaders always act to achieve their outcomes. All your decisions may not turn out to be right, but leaders ensure they make their decisions right. Always be on the move and seize the opportunities.

Practice frugality:  If you want to build a company that is not only a unicorn but also a phoenix you need to be frugal. You cannot afford to spend too much money. All leaders run a well-oiled tightly run organization.

Be vocally self-critical:  This is basically doing the right thing even if it is difficult to do. Always tell the truth and don’t take shortcuts for any short-term profit. Be tougher on yourself than anyone else. Have higher standards for yourself than what others have for you.

Earn the trust of others: The only thing that will lead to ultimate success is to have teams who absolutely trust each other. So always be transparent and share information with the team that can help build trust. Candor is the key to build an organization where trust is lubricated, and friction is reduced.

Dive deep: For example, Bob Iger says there were only three priorities when he wanted to become CEO. One of them was to create extraordinary content, create a global company and focus on technology. All great leaders know when they have to say no, and they never have more than 3-4 priorities. So, we all know this but implementing it and staying focused is the key. So, if you have only 3 priorities you can dive deep into those and achieve excellence in a few areas.

Disagree and Commit: There should be a culture of inclusion but that doesn’t mean there will be no disagreements. We can all agree to disagree. However, once a decision is made everyone should commit to the decision.

Deliver results: Results are where the rubber meets the road. Results are everything. Nobody cares about strategic plans unless it is proven with results. Focus on results all the time. The key is to have strategic checkpoints to see progress against the standards defined. Most leaders have inspired standards and they also have the ability to deliver big time results.

There you have it the 14 leadership principles which can help all of us on our journey. Thanks for reading this post. The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.

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