After almost 5 years at Amazon, I really think that the Amazon Leadership Principles are among the few things that are always going to be engraved in me.
In the yearly reviews (so-called Forte) we choose up to 3 LPs for some of our colleagues to describe their superpowers and their growth opportunities, so in a similar fashion I will enumerate the 3 LPs that I consider to be the most crucial, and which have been the barometer to everything I was doing.
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.
Not much to say… Customers come first, so the customer should be the sole focus of anything you do. Choosing the right problems to solve, making the right decision between trade-offs, and delivering the final solution should all start and finish with the customer in mind.
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 so they stay fixed.
I cannot emphasize this enough. Keeping the bar high, and always insisting on high standards is not only important for the short-term but it’s absolutely crucial for the long-term.
We face the temptation of doing something quick-and-dirty pretty much in every line of code we write or decision we make. Choosing this path enough times though means that the product will degrade over time, but even worse, we make the job of our future self or future colleagues super hard.
How many times did you want to have two words with the author of some part of a system you worked on… :)
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 compromise.
This is the culmination of all the Leadership Principles together in my opinion. You have to focus on the key inputs for your business, and deliver them with the right quality, and in a timely fashion, while at the same time never compromising.
Yeah, I pretty much re-stated the same thing, but this is the gist of it. At the end of the day, you have to deliver something to your customers, but the difficulty lies in doing it in a timely fashion without compromising quality.
I honestly think that all 14 (as of now) LPs are super important!
Having said that, it’s almost impossible for every individual to have the same definition and the same bar for all 14 of them, and this is something I have seen a lot over the past few years. Each person will interpret each LP in their own way, which is fair and expected.
The magic though happens when a team does not lose focus on the Leadership Principles and always comes back and re-evaluates everything against them!
I am glad I had the chance to be an Amazonian!