Think Like Amazon: The Principles Of Success – Forbes

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What are the leadership principles that drive Amazon’s success?

Amazon is objectively one of the most profitable companies in America today. Yet it didn’t become the business behemoth it is now without following a certain set of internal rules. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a leader looking to optimize your team, we could all stand to take a page out Amazon’s book of success.

John Rossman is a Managing Director at Alvarez & Marsal where he specializes in innovative business models and organizational change, including the ‘Internet of Things’. Previously he was an executive at where he launched the third party selling business which today is over 50% of all Amazon units, and supports over three million sellers. He’s the best selling author of The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company and The Amazon Way on IoT.

I recently interviewed John for the LEADx Podcast, where we discussed the guiding principles at Amazon and the important lesson he learned through failure. (The interview below has been lightly edited for space and clarity.) 

Kevin Kruse: Tell us what was a lesson you learned through failure?

John Rossman: Well there’s a wide portfolio that we could pick from here, but I was an industrial engineer, and so I always approached things in a very methodical and thorough manner, and I was in the systems integration business, custom software development business early in my career. Where I had my failures was really in like connecting with people. I really had to figure out and learn how do you not just address the technical or the business requirements aspect of a situation, but how do you create motivations and how do you address the emotional quotient of a problem and of a situation, in addition to the technical or business requirements of it? That’s where I’ve really throughout my entire career, always have to keep reminding myself that you really need to think in a comprehensive way beyond the technical and really get to know people and situations at both a personal level, as well as at an organizational level, and think all the way through those if you truly want to create lasting change.


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