Leadership at Amazon and the Conflict of Values and Action in the Face of Success | Labrador Leadership Podcast 071

071 Amazon

In the aftermath of the New York Times article on the work culture at retailing giant Amazon, Bob talks bout the details of the article, Amazon's Fourteen Leadership Points, and CEO Jeff Bezos' response to the article.  There is also a rebuttal post to the NYT article from a current employee.

The article paints a picture of a work culture that attempts and accomplishes great things. Hiring the best and the brightest and remaining customer focussed has allowed them to accomplish or pursue the Kindle launch, drone delivery, and fulfillment in urban areas within a matter of hours.

The cost though is severe. The work culture calls for 80 hours a week as the norm, according to the article. There are also former employees who suffered cancer, miscarriages, and bereavements, and who generally felt they were penalized for not being able to work during those times.

Bezos emailed the Amazonians the day after publication saying that the article did not sound like the Amazon he knew and encouraging employees with issues to contact him or Human Resources. There is also a LinkedIn post from an employee refuting the New York Times article.

Bob summarizes his thoughts my citing the call for secret feedback and the annual 360 evaluations as symptoms of a counter-productive culture.  He also mentions that an organization of Amazon's size growing at the pace at which it is places a stress on the ability to develop qualified leaders.  Not being able to accomplish this can create these symptoms.

Links to Articles Mentioned

New York Times article

Jeff Bezos' email reply

Amazon's Fourteen Leadership Principles

An employee's rebuttal

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