Are there principles or values ​​behind anonymity?

The power behind the 14 Principles for Amazon Executives

Leadership sometimes feels like jumping head first into murky, rough water. With a run-up and from a rocky cliff. Being a manager doesn't mean choosing between fillet steak and chocolate cake - it's about the right thing to doinstead of choosing the right one. Leadership has a lot to do with actions and not with decisions, which doesn't exactly make the role any easier. After all, it is easier to decide on a fitness program than to implement it afterwards. If you have to laboriously motivate yourself for every workout, long-term implementation is not likely.

Change behavior patterns sustainably with values

Fortunately, there is a tool that makes it easier to always do the right thing: Values ​​& principles. They see themselves as an inner compass or guidelines for behavior. If fitness and athleticism are strong values ​​for me, I will find it easier to implement my daily workouts. The right values ​​make it easier to implement my desired behavior. In addition, every single act reinforces my values ​​and therefore also its effect. Once you have started the self-reinforcing cycle, this is the most effective method to change behavior patterns in yourself or others over the long term.

There are innumerable leadership methods, styles and approaches. Most of them address the behavior of managers without considering the values ​​behind them. In a society characterized by constant change, managers are more dependent than ever on an inner anchor that enables them to do justice to their different roles and at the same time to remain authentic.

Leadership Principles by Amazon

Amazon recognized this in 2017 and published 14 principles that you as a leader should know about. These principles contain all the important values ​​for exceptionally good leadership behavior. So if you are wondering what exactly you have to do to become a good leader, all you need to do is internalize these principles and you will automatically do the right thing. In other words, Amazon's set of principles is "the Force" in Star Wars. “How energy fields are these principles. Environment and us they guide. The galaxies hold them together. ”Said Master Yoda.

At this point, an appeal to your stamina at the beginning - it takes some time and a certain number of repetitions until you have internalized the principles as values. This time to internalization can be explained with Gartner’s Hype Cycle Process:

Gartner’s hype cycle process

With the help of practical implementation examples, you will get a valuable orientation for handling the official “Leadership Principles” from Amazon - which admittedly cause confusion at first glance. We hope that with this help you will be able to reflect on your previous leadership behavior and, more importantly, to adapt in the future. Here are the 14 principles of Amazon:

1. 100% customer-oriented (customer obsession)

“Leaders start with the customer and work backwards from there. You are constantly working to win and maintain the trust of our customers. Leaders keep an eye on competitors, but the customer always remains in focus. "

Obviously, the customer comes first! Do more than just your duty. Always act from the customer's point of view. Be prepared to cut back a little in the short term if this means that your customer will benefit in the long term.

Example: After the vacation you have 20 unread emails in your mailbox. You answer those first who have the greatest customer benefit.

2. Take responsibility (ownership)

“Leaders own the company. You plan for the long term and don't sacrifice long term values ​​for short term results. You act in the interests of the entire company, not just in the interests of your own team. They never say "that's not my job." "

There are two basic things at stake here:

  1. Always prioritize long-term success over short-term.
  2. Always act in the interests of the company and your team as a whole - everything is your job.

Example: Saying “no” to a customer once in a while seems at first glance to be contradicting the first principle. However, if it means saying no to the wrong customer in order to be able to say “yes” to the right customer, the second principle becomes clearer. It's about leaders taking responsibility for a team's long-term success. This also means that you have to say "no" to a customer once.

3. Invention & Simplify (Invent & Simplify)

“Amazon employees require themselves and their teams to be innovative and resourceful and to keep finding ways to simplify things. They know their environment, look for new ideas everywhere and are not influenced by whether innovations were developed within or outside of their team. When we tackle something new, we accept that we could be misunderstood for a long time. "

Courage for constant change. The key to great success is to continually question things and keep them simple at the same time.

Example: How does your team deal with home office? Are new tools regularly tried out and discarded? In the current situation, you can fully live out this principle in a protected setting and thus introduce or simplify many things. Hold a stand-up meeting with your team every day for a week and let your team reflect on this change on Friday.

4. Make the right decision (Are Right, A Lot)

“Our leaders make the right decisions. You have excellent judgment and instinct. They look for different perspectives and never stop putting their own beliefs to the test. "

The first two sentences are quite provocative and are often misunderstood. Simply put, the principle behind the principle is “wisdom”. Managers should strive to obtain as much information as possible on a topic in order to make the right decision by looking at the big picture. At the same time, however, managers should also be ready to turn their own opinion 180 degrees at any time. Because cognitive inertia has nothing to do with wisdom.

Example: Steve Jobs was famous for this approach. One day he thought of idea X, the next day he realized that he was completely wrong and suddenly was completely behind idea Y. In his way he was “right, a lot”.

5. Stay curious and never stop learning (Learn & Be Curious)

“For leaders, the learning process is never over because they want to keep improving. They encounter new possibilities with curiosity, are open-minded and are always exploring them. "

The principle is self-explanatory: leaders must always strive to work on themselves and always to improve.

Example: Reading specialist books, attending further training courses and always reflecting on your own actions are three simple examples of this principle. Here are our top 5 books on leadership:

  1. The 5 dysfunctions of a team by Patrick Lencioni
  2. Jeff Sutherland's Scrum Revolution
  3. Self-organization needs leadership from Boris Gloger & Dieter Rösner
  4. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
  5. Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg

6. Hire and develop the best

“Leaders raise the bar with every hiring and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent and support transfers and development in the company. Leaders develop leaders and take their coaching role seriously. In the interests of our employees, we develop mechanisms for career advancement such as Career Choice. "

The best football player in the world is only the best as long as he can develop and grow. You have to apply this analogy to your employees: give them the chance to become the best player. Even if this means that your employee is overtaking you.

Example: An important activity is pending, which is usually taken over by the "boss"? Give your employees the chance to grow on a big challenge at the next opportunity. If it goes wrong, however, you have to take responsibility for it.

7. Always apply the highest standards (Insist on the Highest Standards)

“Leaders relentlessly set high standards - for many, this standard may even seem disproportionately high. Leaders continuously raise the bar and motivate their teams to develop high quality products, services and processes. Leaders make sure that errors do not become widespread and that their cause is finally eliminated. "

High goals make your team feel important. The underlying values ​​of "optimism" and "determination" are a guarantee of motivation for your team. In addition to the quantitative, you should also take care of qualitative standards - these are unfortunately all too often overlooked.

Example: Big goals are easier to formulate when they are far in the future. At the next meeting, ask your team how they can imagine their work or their product in 5 years? Then what would be better? When you have found the answer to this, in the second step you ask yourself how the result can be achieved in one year?

8. Think big

“If you think small, you can't achieve big goals. Leaders develop and communicate a bold vision and inspire great results. They think differently and around the corner and are looking for new ways to serve customers everywhere. "

This principle is not just about big ideas and visionary approaches. It's about thinking big while keeping the customer focus.

Example: A big project is on the horizon - to pull it ashore, the entire team would have to change focus and take a significant risk for several weeks. As a manager with the value “foresight” you compare the risk with the opportunity and evaluate the ratio neutrally.

9. Act actively (bias for action)

“Acting quickly is important in business life. Many decisions and actions are revocable and do not have to be extensively investigated beforehand. We value calculated willingness to take risks. "

This principle is based on the value of “error culture” and on the fact that most errors can be repaired. It is therefore perfectly okay to accept mistakes in order to speed up action.

Example: Delegation is arguably the best example of this principle. The more decisions employees can make themselves, the more capable your team is.

10. Targeted use of resources (frugality)

“Achieve more with less. Restricting yourself can also generate ingenuity, financial independence, and innovation. There is no applause for leaders who only increase the number of employees, the budget or the fixed costs. "

This value is often more strongly represented in smaller companies: do not waste money or working time. Achieving more with less is probably the classic business rule. Effective use of resources does not describe doing things cheaper, but rather doing the right things.

Example:Maybe you know the Pareto principle? It describes that 80% of the result can be achieved with 20% of the effort. If you now list all your open activities - which would it be that make up 80% of the result? Just do this today and ask yourself the question again tomorrow.

11. Build and earn trust (earn trust)

“Leaders are attentive listeners, make honest statements and treat others with respect. You are open to self-criticism, even if it seems uncomfortable or embarrassing. Leaders know that they and their team are not infallible. They measure themselves and their teams against the best. "

Trust is not a one-way street. Not only do you have to earn trust from others, you also need to let others feel that you trust them.

Example:Balance words and actions. That is the cornerstone of any relationship of trust.

12. Getting to the bottom of things (Dive Deep)

“Leaders work at all levels and never lose sight of the detail. You regularly review decisions and processes and react skeptically if expectations, intuition and results are not in harmony. No task is too insignificant for them. "

The difficulty lies in recognizing when I should act according to principle 9 “Actively” and when should act according to this principle. A good compass is to compare your gut feeling with the reactions of your team members, consultants or KPIs. If these do not match, you should collect more information and ultimately always make a number-based decision.

Example: Make sure that you always have meaningful data available for the most important topics. And what's more important than your team? Therefore, send out anonymous surveys on motivation, communication, team spirit and satisfaction at regular intervals - teamazing Insights will help you with this.

13.Show backbone, represent your own opinions and support decisions made (have backbone, disagree and commit)

“Leaders need to respectfully challenge decisions they disagree with, even if it is uncomfortable or stressful. Leaders have beliefs and persist in advocating them. They do not accept compromises if they are only made for the benefit of community cohesion. When a decision has been made, they fully support it. "

The thought behind the 13th principle is extremely important. The value of "integrity" has unfortunately lost importance in the last few decades. Politicians and executives with integrity are less common than they were 50 years ago. Integrity describes the steadfastness of how much you stand by your values ​​and views. Too often integrity is confused with stubbornness. The difference is that a value is not an opinion but an attitude. Maintaining this attitude means being with integrity.

Example: You may be familiar with the situation where two of your employees have different opinions and come to you individually with this dilemma. At this point, you both have to share your position clearly, openly and honestly. But it is also important to perceive and respect other attitudes.

14. Deliver Results

“Leaders focus on the most important influencing factors for their business area and deliver results in the right quality and in compliance with all deadlines. Even if they have to accept setbacks, they face the challenge and never give up. "

This means a healthy hands-on mentality coupled with a focus on results. SMART goals and leadership by demonstration are practical tips here.

Practical example: When an agency in the software development sector was shaken by the 2008 crisis, the development team had to be terminated. The managing directors didn't want to let their customers down, but weren't developers themselves. They had no idea how to keep servers running or how to build websites. But they were determined to do everything possible to keep the agency going. First they learned how to restart the servers from a former developer who wrote a guide. It was a trivial step, but it had to be done several times a day. The next few months weren't too bad. They found a way to cost-effectively outsource programming and learned all that was needed to keep going. After a long dry spell, they were able to hire developers again. The agency is more successful today than ever before - even if the managing directors are now running the agency again instead of restarting the server.

Equipped with these 14 principles, nothing stands in the way of becoming or remaining a great leader. Incidentally, it helps if you constantly make them visible to yourself somewhere and thus regularly call them to mind. You can also query these values ​​in a targeted manner during job interviews and take them into account when making a decision.