14 Reasons Why Amazon Stays on Top

Follow these Amazon principles to reach and stay on top.

One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.”

— Jeff Bezos

Amazon started from a humble beginning. From an online bookstore, it has now transformed into an everything-store. Everyone knows how huge Amazon is. Everyone knows how it reached the top, climbing from a business operating in a garage to a multinational company operating from a massive headquarter in Seattle. But have you considered what makes Amazon stays on top?

Here are the leaders’ principles that make Amazon “peculiar.”

Customer Obsession

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 customers.

Takeaway for us

They don’t set the standard according to the market or competitors. They set the standard according to customer satisfaction, and as we all know, customers are never satisfied. It allows them to keep improving.

Everything that we do is business-related, and business is always related to customers. If you are a writer, accept readers’ feedbacks. If you are a teacher, allow students’ feedbacks. Never set your standard according to your competitors because you won’t know how low their standard might be.

Ownership

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.”

Takeaway for us

When everyone thinks about the company, it eases any frictions among themselves. When everyone thinks about the long-term goals, it facilitates a great product to materialize. Combine both view is a definite recipe for greatness.

Treat our works as our own businesses. Create a long-term plan, stay true to it, and act as you own it. You are the owner of your career.

Invent and Simplify

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.

Takeaway for us

We wait for the perfect timing to start. We keep honing our skills until we feel we are ready. The truth is there is no perfect timing, and you will never be ready.

Don’t wait until you are ready. Don’t aim for the perfect moment. Start ASAP, make mistakes, then refine the process.

An 80% ready product delivered on time is better than a 100% product delivered one month late.

Are Right, A Lot

Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.

Takeaway for us

Let us rephrase the principle.

Leaders always try to be right.

Do we try to be right? No. We think we are right. That’s why we don’t try.

The only time we try to be right is when we are dreadfully wrong.

Always try to be right. Challenge your beliefs. When you try to be right, you will be right.

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.

Takeaway for us

We love our comfort zone so much. It is warm. It is lovely. It is calm. But it is boring. We can’t be wrong if we stay too long there. When we are never wrong, how can we improve?

Don’t settle. Adapt to new environments. Challenge yourself. Move out of your comfort zone. That’s how you improve.

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.

Takeaway for us

We conceal our secrets to protect our assets from competitors. That is not the best mentality. The best doesn’t hide his ultimate skillset; he shares it. The best doesn’t hinder progress; he nurtures it.

Be lavish in sharing what you know.

Insist on the Highest Standards

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.

Takeaway for us

Good enough is good enough to start, but good enough is never good enough to stay.

Start with good enough and refine until the best is obtained.

Think Big

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.

Takeaway for us

We fear failures. We fear mistakes. It is good to fear them, but we fear them too much to the point that we avoid making them. Our fear should make us more cautious, not hesitant.

When we avoid making mistakes, we avoid making greatness. When we avoid failures, we avoid success.

Bias for Action

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

Takeaway for us

Bad results come from uncalculated action. But no good results come from too long of a deliberation.

Follow your instinct, take the leap, pick one.

Frugality

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

Takeaway for us

Excessive resources are never good for business. A loose purse means loose spending. Loose spending means low efficiency. Loose efficiency means low profit. Obese product/process is the forbidden fruit in work/business.

Refine your process. Streamline your product. Push it to the limit.

Earn Trust

Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.

Takeaway for us

Be honest.

Dive Deep

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.

Takeaway for us

Don’t be arrogant. No task is too little for you to handle.

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.

Takeaway for us

We avoid arguments for the sake of social relationships. Let’s be honest, is a social relationship without arguments any good? A good relationship is the one where you can opine and listen freely.

Consider arguments as a process to refine your thoughts. You might be wrong. He might be wrong. Start listening before fleeing.

Deliver Results

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.

Takeaway for us

In our career, only our result matters.

Don’t talk too much; deliver results. Then people will respect your opinions.

A simple person who loves philosophy, good food, and dogs. I write articles on communication, self-help, and occasional coding stuff. A HUGE F.R.I.E.N.D.S fans.

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