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Amazon's Leadership Principles

"Whether you are an individual contributor or the manager of a large team, you are an Amazon leader. These are our leadership principles and every Amazonian is guided by these principles."

Source: Amazon's Careers Page

The principles

  1. Customer Obsession
  2. Ownership
  3. Invent and Simplify
  4. Are Right, A Lot
  5. Hire and Develop the Best
  6. Insist on the Highest Standards
  7. Think Big
  8. Bias for Action
  9. Frugality
  10. Vocally Self Critical
  11. Earn Trust of Others
  12. Dive Deep
  13. Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
  14. Deliver Results

  1. Customer Obsession

    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.

  2. 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, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job."

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

  4. Are Right, A Lot

    Leaders are right a lot. They have strong business judgment and good instincts.

  5. 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 seriously their role in coaching others.

  6. 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.

  7. Think Big

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

  8. Bias for Action

    Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.

  9. Frugality

    We try not to spend money on things that don’t matter to customers. Frugality breeds resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention. There are no extra points for headcount, budget size, or fixed expense.

  10. Vocally Self Critical

    Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume. Leaders come forward with problems or information, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.

  11. Earn Trust of Others

    Leaders are sincerely open-minded, genuinely listen, and are willing to examine their strongest convictions with humility.

  12. Dive Deep

    Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, and audit frequently. No task is beneath them.

  13. Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit

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

  14. 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.