- Amazon’s 16 Leadership Principles: Simply Stated
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April 2, 2023

For the longest time Amazon had 14 leadership principles, but just before Bezos left he added 2 more. Below is a list of the guiding values that Amazon uses to inform its culture, decision-making, and expectations for employees. These principles are designed to drive innovation, growth, and long-term success. I encourage my clients to develop such principles in their Leadership Team Charters. 

  1. Customer Obsession: Prioritizing customer needs and working relentlessly to earn and maintain their trust.
  2. Ownership: Taking responsibility for actions and outcomes, thinking long-term, and acting in the best interest of the company.
  3. Invent and Simplify: Encouraging innovation, finding new ways to simplify processes, and always looking for ways to improve.
  4. Are Right, A Lot: Making good decisions using strong judgment and instincts, and seeking diverse perspectives to challenge assumptions.
  5. Learn and Be Curious: Continuously learning and seeking opportunities to expand knowledge, staying curious, and asking questions.
  6. Hire and Develop the Best: Attracting and retaining top talent, developing leaders, and setting high standards for performance.
  7. Insist on the Highest Standards: Holding oneself and others accountable to high standards, ensuring quality, and identifying solutions to problems.
  8. Think Big: Envisioning bold ideas and taking risks, while inspiring others to think beyond the status quo.
  9. Bias for Action: Preferring calculated risks and timely action over indecision, and learning from mistakes.
  10. Frugality: Achieving more with less, focusing on resourcefulness, and prioritizing long-term value.
  11. Earn Trust: Treating others with respect, being transparent, and actively listening to foster trust and credibility.
  12. Dive Deep: Fully understanding the details of a situation, staying close to the data, and avoiding superficial analysis.
  13. Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit: Asserting opinions, even if unpopular, and committing to decisions once they are made.
  14. Deliver Results: Focusing on delivering results, overcoming obstacles, and staying resilient in the face of challenges.
  15. Strive to be Earth's Best Employer: Prioritizing employee well-being, growth, and inclusivity while creating a safe and inspiring workplace.
  16. Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility: Recognizing the impact of Amazon's success and scale, and taking responsibility for the consequences on customers, employees, communities, and the environment.
author avatar
George Morris
I use my 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience and training to coach businesses on scaling up rapidly using Verne Harnish's Scaling Up framework. By doing so, my clients are more efficient and profitable, giving them the ability to make bigger impacts in the world. I deeply believe entrepreneurs are the best equipped to be the vehicle for meaningful change, and in the decade ahead, we'll see a substantial shift in how business is done. We'll move to a model where company purpose, impact, curiosity, and team health will be differentiators in overall business success. As Simon Sinek has pointed out, the finite games are the legacy of the past; we're moving to an infinite game.