Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Amazon Leadership Principles... for Space

For the past year I have been working for Amazon, a company that needs little introduction (at least in the United States), whose charismatic founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, also has a less known space company, Blue Origin. Embedded in the company DNA, Amazon Leadership Principles are more than company values. They are a language, the terminology used to describe and understand accomplishments and failures in the company, the filter through which the performance of employees is reviewed by their managers and peers every year and throughout the year. These are the ten commandments (Amazon had to do better, so there are fourteen...), embodying the rise and fall of operating at Amazon.

The Leadership Principles, as copied from here are:
  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
An important aspect of these principles is that they work well together, like a well oiled 14-cylinder engine. A big deficiency in some of them will lead to worsening of the end result and over tasking the others. Be too vocally self critical and you may lose your bias for action for lack of confidence. Trying to earn trust of others by accepting every task and you'll find yourself not delivering good results and not being able to insist on the highest standards due to over tasking yourself, and so on.

To connect between my day-job and my space aspirations, I've decided to inspect the space industry wearing the Amazon Leadership Principles glasses and trying to make suggestions from the point of view of a development manager at Amazon. In an upcoming series of posts I will look at each of the leadership principles and at the space industry from that context.

I hope you will join me on this journey and participate by commenting and adding examples related to each of the principles as you see them or have experienced them in the space industry, as space enthusiasts or space employees.

1 comment:

Charles W said...

I love your smirking Amazon helmet graphic, boss. Very cool!