The highly execution-based company Amazon became a frenemy of every single big shot of the multifarious industry. Who knew, that the company that started the bookselling platform 27 years back will soon become the 8th largest company according to the 2022 Fortune list in the United States?

It excelled in various fields. Be it retail, apparel, devices, logistics, publishing, and many more.

Amazon surpassed Walmart with the highest market value in the US. The only difference is: It took Walmart 53 years to get to this position and Amazon many years. Wonder why?

Amazon 14 leadership principles


Being a global entrepreneur it becomes really important to continuously push forward and accelerate at a faster rate by doing things correctly and for the right reasons.  

How do you confirm that you will ultimately succeed in the venture?

The only relevant answer is by guidance and adhering to principles defined by the team and its leaders. Amazon is a great example of this.

Amazon 14 leadership principles


It succeeded in the entrepreneurial journey by focusing on the fourteen leadership principles. The principles guided and shaped the company’s decisions in every manner.

The principles were expected to be adhered to by the Amazonians and they made implementation of principles,  a habit in no time. This habit creation model defines how Amazon actually works.

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Amazon 14 leadership principles


Some of these Leadership Principles(LPs) may look unclear at first and require a deep thought but trust us they are exactly to the point and customer-centric.

These principles will not require further concerns, so let’s dive in to know more about the 14 principles.

First Thing First, Where Did The Amazon Principles Come From?

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos wrote these principles and established them as a framework of how everything operates at Amazon. The values imparted by the principles motivated Amazon employees and are a driving force for their success.

Amazon 14 leadership principles


Principle 1: Customer Obsession

To simplify, put customers always first. If needed, sacrifice something for your customers and always create a win situation for them. Consider their opinion in making every decision of the company be it a price hike or any other functional change.

In Amazon’s own words:

“Leaders start with the customer and work backward. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers”

Principle 2: Ownership

Understand one thing, everything is your job. Leaders should take ownership of two things. 1) Keeping long-term goals first over the short term, and 2) Acting on behalf of the team and company as a whole and not as an individual.

In Amazon’s own words:

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

Principle 3: Invent and Simplify

Innovation is the key to success. Keep things simple and straightforward. Progress constantly!

In Amazon’s own words:

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

Principle 4: Are right, a lot

Read as “Leaders are right, a lot”. It’s all about looking at the bigger picture, analyzing, and being willing to take the risks of conducting challenging tasks whenever necessary.

In Amazon’s own words:

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

Principle 5: Learn and be curious

Leaders should always strive to learn, implement new things, and improve. The two primary motivators to learn are “need and desire”. The best example is Quora. It has always satisfied the intersecting points between need and desire. The more you teach on-site, the more you learn.  

In Amazon’s own words:

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

Principle 6: Hire and Develop the Best

A hired employee should always be nurtured and developed continuously.  You should raise the bar in such a way that the next replacement-hired person performs way better than the employee who left the organization. Work upon your employees in the best possible way. Groom them whenever required.

In Amazon’s own words:

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

Principle 7: Insist on Highest Standards:

Always try and deliver high-quality services and products. Always raise the bar of your service. Don’t ever stop if you encounter a problem. Find a solution to the problem by yourself. Never compromise on the quality.

In Amazon’s own words:

“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

Principle 8: Think Big

As mentioned in the first principle “Customer obsession”, keep the customer first while thinking about big and visionary ideas.

Always communicate even if the idea is out of context because you never know when they inspire your employees to greater results.

In Amazon’s own words:

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

Principle 9: Bias for Action

Take risks of making mistakes. Don’t worry much, it is perfectly okay to make mistakes. Never worry about the fear of “ What if we’re wrong?”

We know that most mistakes are not irreparable and so leaders need to stand for the employees so that they learn from these mistakes. Don’t succumb to paralysis by analysis. Take quick actions and make perfect calculations for risk checking.

In Amazon’s own words:

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

Principle 10: Frugality

In simple words, achieve more with fewer efforts and minimal resource usage. Plan everything properly, control costs, and maximize the output. These constraints enable you to have more innovative ideas to make things possible that previously looked impossible or of higher investment.

In Amazon’s own words:

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

Principle 11: Earn Trust

The two-way process: Earning others’ trust and making others feel trusted is a simple and straightforward principle. Listen and treat others in a respectful manner. Speak softly even in an awkward or critical situation. Remember this principle: Treat others as you want others to treat you.

In Amazon’s own words:

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 odor smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.

Principle 12: Dive Deep

Keep everything documented. Data is all that matters. If you ever feel skeptical then trust the data. Every detail should be documented, and frequently audited at all levels.

In Amazon’s own words:

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

Principle 13: Have A Backbone, Disagree, And Commit

It may frequently happen at the workplace that two persons disagree over an opinion. This situation is crucially important. Anyone would have to take a step back or say no in uncertain terms.

Agree to an alternative option and commit to it. Do not compromise or go with the flow of others if the decision is not in the company’s favor. Justify your argument to reach a better conclusion.

In Amazon’s own words:

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”

Principle 14: Deliver Results

Always try to come up with the best solution. Never sacrifice the quality. No matter how many odds or obstacles you face, give it your best shot in the time frameset.

In Amazon’s own words:

“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 settle”

Let’s Drive Ourselves Towards Success

These are Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles or should I say “Success Principles”  which give you an opportunity to learn and emulate. Don’t regret the past, now when you have them,  use them carefully. A point to consider: Ideas may be common but in the end, what counts is the execution.

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