What We Can Learn From Amazon?

Amazon is a fantastic company. They’ve pretty much changed the way most Americans shop. They can nearly satisfy our every want. Quickly. Most Americans admire them. In 2017, it was ranked as the top brand in the US.

Reinhard Cate, content marketing manager of Protagonist, a consumer research company, analyzed the Amazon phenomena. “We found that the company’s emphasis on a positive and wholesome customer experience helped maintain the narrative or deeply held belief that Amazon’s actions and policies always place their customers first,” he said.

They make it look easy, but they work hard at it. Amazon posts its leadership principles on its website.

Each one of those principles fits them perfectly.  And when you read them carefully, you can see why they might relate to our organizations if we are sincere about serving our audience, growing, and dominating our industry.

Their values include customer obsession, employees acting on behalf of the company, and not saying, “that’s not my job. It says Amazon leaders are curious, seeking diverse perspectives, and they develop the best.

Does your organization have a similar set of values that are core to your operation?

Have you committed yourself to customer obsession? Amazon describes it this way: “Leaders start with the customer and work backward. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.” How do you obsess over your customers or the people who depend on you?

Do your employees feel like owners? If you have ever heard someone on your staff say, ‘that’s not my job,’ they aren’t acting like an owner would.

Do you look for ideas from everywhere? True leaders welcome input from their team members and even outsiders.  They read about leadership techniques from successful people and bounce ideas off of others, including mentors.

Does your organization think big? Amazon started by selling books, and while they still do, those sales now represent only a portion of their annual sales.

Do you deliver results? Amazon says that “Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion.” Has your organization established benchmarks by which you judge your success, and are those metrics regularly reviewed?

Institutional values should ideally be an outgrowth of developing a strategic plan.  But more importantly, if you have a set of values, who knows about them?  Does everyone on your staff know about them and embrace them?  Are they discussed and reviewed at staff meetings?

Amazon summarizes their efforts by saying, “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.”

If your organization’s core values are a part of the way you operate and discuss them the way Amazon does, your customers and stakeholders will sense them. That is when they are truly meaningful and authentic. They will create a purpose-driven and future-focused organization just the way Amazon uses them.

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