A 15th leadership principle for Amazon?

Geekwire - Rossman Interview and Podcast

Todd Bishop of Geekwire sat down with me for this interview focusing on the preface from The Amazon Way: Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles.

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Geekwire Day 2 Podcast: A 15th Amazon Leadership Principle?

Put this podcast on your normal rotation as Geekwire does a great job of tracking the most interesting company in the digital era — Amazon. Here’s some key parts to the conversation.

A durable principle: Rossman’s suggested leadership principle resulted from a thought experiment: How would he advise Amazon to counter growing negative public perception?

“It wouldn’t be the only thing I would do, but one of the places I would start is, how do we reset the conversation?” he said. “I tried to create a durable principle, one that would work both for today, as well as for 10, 15 years from now. I came to something that’s based off of stewardship. They (Amazon) need to be a leading steward for all of those other stakeholders.”

As stated, the new preface of The Amazon Way and the suggested new 15th leadership principle is not a criticism to Amazon — it’s a strategy for the next 25 years. How does Amazon “raise the bar” for themselves, for others and reset a largely negative “big tech” narrative which is pervasive in the most media. As Bezos said in the latest Amazon shareholder letter in a section titled “Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work”

when we lead, others follow

It’s really that simple. With that background, here is the suggested 15th LP from The Amazon Way — I hope it spurs not just Amazon, but other leaders to consider their tenets and priorities for the next 25 years.

Suggested Amazon 15th Leadership Principle from The Amazon Way

Treat others as you’d like to be treated — employees, vendors, partners, brands, small companies, competitors, press, critics, community. Contribute and be a leading steward of your community. Foster and lobby not for your best interests, but for future innovation and competition’s best interest. Conduct yourself, both personally and as an organization, in a way your mom and your kids would be proud of. Always.

It’s a “high-bar” principle — not easy to live up to it either personally or as an organization. It’s a constraint to force innovation and creativity, just like other constraints such as cost, quality or operating environments. My hope is that it accelerates investments and innovation instead of stifling them.

And that’s the strategy session for this week.

Onward!

John

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