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Leadership Bliss

(posted: June 12th, 2009)

At a time when many business leaders are retrenching, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos is thinking big. Hsieh is widely regarded as one of the most innovative Internet marketers of all time. But he has a hard time getting exited about this. He doesn't seem to care much about that part of his journey.

What he really cares about is making Zappos's employees and customers feel really, really good. He has decided that his entire business revolves around one thing: happiness.

Everything at Zappos serves that single end. Here are some best practices I picked up from a recent article in Inc Magazine and there are many more I am discovering. Here are just a few practices that he is doing to make a big difference:

  • Tony's small desk is tucked in a row of cubicles in the middle of the floor.
  • He was concerned the company was growing so quickly and that new managers might not understand their culture. So he wrote an e-mail to the entire company asking for help. He distilled the responses into a list of 10 core values, including:
    • Be humble
    • Create fun and a little weirdness
    • Deliver WOW through service
Then he assigned and collected short essays from every employee on the subject of the company's culture and published them, unedited in a book that he distributed to the staff. Every year employees contribute a fresh essay to the book which has now grown to 480 pages.
  • All new employees receive four weeks of training and at the conclusion of the program they are offered $2,000 plus compensation for time worked to quit. He believes weeding out people who would jump ship anyway allows those who remain to make a statement of commitment to their new employer.
  • The company's long-term plan is on display and a sales chart in the lobby informs everyone in the building what their sales numbers were the day before.
  • One of Zappos core values is personal growth and Tony Hsieh has built a library with books that are given out to help employees grow with the company.
  • Managers are required to spend 10 to 20 percent of their time goofing off with the people they manage.
  • Reps are supposed to send a dozen or so personal notes to customers every day. It's called P-E-C for Personal Emotional Connection.
Challenge Yourself
  • What are you doing to make your employees, customers, shareholders, and yourself blissed-out?
  • What else could you be doing more of to stimulates and motivates your greatest assets?
  • Do you think it is worth the time, effort, and investment?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

This blog post was originally posted at www.linked2leadership.com.

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