business discussion 87

Inside Amazon The New York Times article discusses culture and leadership at Amazon.

A. Applying leadership concepts that we have covered so far in this course, what is your perspective on how culture drives results at Amazon? Reference: Kantor, J. & Streitfeld, D.: Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace

B. Using the Wall Street Journal menu link, select an article that relates to leadership and persuasion or to achieving results with effective leadership. Briefly explain why you chose the article and how it relates to either leadership and persuasion or achieving results. NOTE: Be sure to include a link to the article you selected.

Part A1– Amazon’s culture is an interesting read. It is clear that Amazon has a vision. The CEO has done a masterful job of instilling exactly what behaviors and are desired and performance evaluations to manage out anyone that falls behind. In Jack’s mind, that terrific. They have created effective mechanisms to evaluate their staff. Also, they have flattened the organization chart to clearly define what one’s role is and what their expectations in said role are. This culture is designed to drive an employee to run until they can’t run anymore, then manage them out. In the world of Amazon, they want your peak years and offer no reward, retention or loyalty once you have peaked. The model is solid, and rewards and incentives are there to keep their staff on for as long as they can handle the workload. My perspective on this model is mixed. Clearly, it is the best for ensuring you as a CEO have the most winning company, but at the cost of burning out your staff and swapping them out without care of people or costs on training. It is like the bad guy in fast and furious 6 Shaw. He says his code is precision. If a part is bad, swap it out for a new one and move on. This company gives nothing back to you once your burnt out but a door to the exit. There is no family, loyalty or trust. Once you fall behind, your gone. In my mind, eventually, the mass the population is going to stop applying, or the rest of the companies here are going follow suit with this model. I work in an extremely demanding job currently and do get burnt out and need a vacation. My leadership understands this and will recognize when it’s happening and encourage me to do so. That is why they retain and have company loyalty. The staff at amazon will leave, and they are missing the opportunity to improve already great employees. I understand the why and waste of money on training but feel this could be an even greater business with the proper tools to retain good people who get burnt out. Winning for the sole purpose of winning is a lonely victory.

Part B2– The Amazon article was interesting from an employee standpoint. I visualize similarities between Jack’s Principles and Jeff’s mission. In several ways, Amazon is utilizing the founding principles from Jack’s rules to guide the organization and integrating them as they fit within the policies. In my opinion, the article is missing a few pieces of critical information -speaking from experience with Amazon, they have a program that allows hourly associates to educate themselves as nurses formally or specific trades, and Amazon pays for a portion of it. Amazon is supporting its frontline with improving their lives, and once they graduate, they are free to go on to other companies in their community-without paying the funds back. Amazon has taken a stance to change the way we consider innovation, which I believe is noble.

However, in the same coin, it doesn’t mean that the vast majority of the population would survive at Amazon, but I don’t think they expect it too. As with many companies, they are open to how they seek talent and what is expected of them. In my experience, while the company is exceptionally successful, they need to improve the ability to coach and support their team according to the article.

To address your questions, my teams are pushed to take risks and exceed boundaries-learn from their mistakes and move forward. Winning results is challenging and requires maximum effort and communication. Creating a celebrating culture with recognition is critical. I have led “fixer” markets in my roles, the environment you create will ultimately determine the success. If you lack candor or feedback sessions and celebrating your wins, of any size, the results will reflect it. My teams named these toxic relationships=toxic results, celebrate and own the results.

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