These are the 14 leadership principles that Jeff Bezos established at Amazon, and they still drive the company today

Jeff Bezos

Summary List Placement

Amazon’s 14 leadership principles, developed by founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, guide the company every day, on areas ranging from job interviews to new project ideas.

Bezos is now stepping down as CEO, and will be replaced by AWS CEO Andy Jassy in the third quarter. In a memo to Amazon staff Tuesday, Jassy reflected on what he’s learned from Bezos over the past 24 years — and many of those things are reflected in Amazon’s leadership principles.

These include customer obsession, the importance of inventing and curiosity, and the value of high standards, Jassy said.

Jassy could be under pressure to add a new principle to the mix, too. Last year, a group of employees organized an internal petition to get “inclusion” added to the company’s official leadership principles after sharing their own accounts of workplace discrimination, including racism and sexism.

These are the current 14 principles, and what Amazon has to say about them.

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.

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.” 

Read more: We compared the leadership philosophies of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and it shows the major differences between the two companies

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

Are Right, A Lot

Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgement and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.

Learn and Be Curious

Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.

Hire and Develop the Best

Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognise people with exceptional talent and willingly move them throughout the organisation. Leaders develop leaders and are serious about their role in coaching others. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.

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.

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.

Bias for Action

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

Frugality

Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size, or fixed expense.

Earn Trust

Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odour smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.

Dive Deep

Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are sceptical when metrics and anecdote differ. No task is beneath them.

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.

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 compromise.

SEE ALSO: How to use the ‘CAR’ method to nail Amazon’s behavioral interview questions, according to a former senior recruiter

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