In the current case study I will review the interview with Tony Hsieh, the chief executive of Zappos.com, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant in January 2010. According to the interview, Tony Hsieh is C.E.O. of Zappos.com, the shoe seller that Amazon acquired last year. A core Zappos value, he says, is to “create fun and a little weirdness, that is why he values individuality in hiring”¯, according to The interview with Tony Hsieh.
Considering the most important leadership lessons that he has learnt, Tony Hsieh says that it is crucial to hire people with the best skills and experiences. As well, he states that the culture is a number one priority for him. Core committable values of culture guarantee the success for the team and it helps to work more effectively. Although it is hard to create values, Tony Hsieh thinks that it is important to create them and also to follow them. At first, it was rather challenging for Tony Hsieh to make changes: “Honestly, there was a lot of resistance to the core values rolling out, including from me. I was very hesitant, because it just felt like one of those bigĀcompany things to do.”¯
Ideas are important within the company, and “If you are passionate about it, just run with it”¯ Zappos has a culture book. All employees are involved in the corporate culture and actively participate in it. Tony Hsieh is convinced that “if we get the culture right, most of the stuff, like building a brand around delivering the very best customer service, will just take care of itself”¯, according to The interview with Tony Hsieh.
As well, Tony Hsieh says that it is hard to interview senior executives, as “they are in that position for a reason.”¯ “High senior – level talent is very hard, it’s hit or miss, and they can do a lot of damage to the culture”¯, according to The interview with Tony Hsieh. Tony Hsieh indicates that they have also had a bad experience with that. He also thinks that it is important to know a person the way he is outside the office, how he behaves, and to try to understand their vision and character. It is important to develop strong relationships with employees. It is important to feel comfortable and be yourself. Tony Hsieh shares that it is important to understand the people’s psychology, and also to see if they are honest. Self aware people have perspectives to grow, and those who are not self aware, it is harder for them to move forward and to adapt. Tony Hsieh says that it is important to consider the mistakes made in the past in order not to repeat them. Passion and excitement have to be present in each person’s life and if it is not there, proper measures have to be taken.
All in all, according to Tony Hsieh, it is important to try new ways, approaches and use creativity in life and in business. Also, it is important to follow the trends and to understand where a person belongs and what he does best. According to The interview with Tony Hsieh, “Probably the most important thing I did was try to encourage employee to come up with their own ideas for building the culture. The actual ideas that I have personally come up with are few and far between.”¯
CORNER OFFICE. On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Weird Are You? The interview with Tony Hsieh. Published: January 9, 2010.