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What are the Amazon leadership principles?

Nouman Abbasi

Nearly every business or organization has a set of rules or principles they abide by. Similarly, Amazon, the largest e-commerce company, has 14 rules called “Leadership Principles.”

Here are Amazon’s infamous 14 Leadership Principles:

Customer obsession

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

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, and they never say, “that’s not my job.”

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 they do new things, they accept that they may be misunderstood for long periods of time.

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.

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.

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 their role of coaching others seriously. They work on behalf of people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.

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 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 in such a way that they stay fixed.

Think big

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

Bias for action

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

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.

Earn trust

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.

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.

Have backbone; disagree and commit

Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when it 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.

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.

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Nouman Abbasi
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