John Rossman, Lessons and Principles from the Amazon Way – InnovaBuzz 529

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John Rossman, The Amazon Way

Our guest in this episode is John Rossman, the author of The Amazon Way book series, a former Amazon leader and Managing Partner at Rossman Partners. John is an expert leveraging the Amazon leadership principles to help others innovate, compete and win in the digital era. One of the leading innovation speakers, John delivers practical techniques and strategies the audience can apply in their business. John advises leaders on strategy, leadership and digital transformation. John was an executive at Amazon.com where he played a key role in launching the Amazon marketplace business as the Director of Merchant Integration, and went on to have responsibilities for the enterprise business at Amazon. John is also an active blog and publishes a weekly newsletter titled The Digital Leader Newsletter on Substack.

In our conversation John talked to me about

  • The Amazon Leadership Principles and the unique corporate culture of Amazon
  • What obsessing over the customer looks like
  • Digital Transformation in today’s world

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

Listen to the Podcast

Principles are better than rules.  Rules tend to be too rigid and aim for lofty ambitions. Principles become habits over time. @JohnERossman on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

Show Notes from this episode with John Rossman, The Amazon Way

Key points and takeaways from this episode include:

  • Principles are better than rules.  Rules tend to be too rigid and aim for lofty ambitions. Principles become habits over time.
  • Principle – leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.
  • Consensus can be a dangerous mindset when trying to solve hard problems. You need the right approaches to the right moments.
  • Principle: Obsess over the customer – how do we become curious and understand our customers? How can we understand the customer’s journey?
  • Principle: Invent and Simplify – for both the customer experience and internal capabilities.
  • You are never done re-inventing the customer experience.  Your goal is to be excellent. Use metrics to improve the experience.
  • Every business model is undergoing rampant change driven by technology.
  • Digital transformation requires speed and agility. The transformation requires a clear definition of the future state considering customer experiences, employee experiences, operations, connected products and services, business models and value propositions.
  • We need to shrink the change. We need to find little ways, little changes to make, that have a big impact.
  • Written narratives are better than a simple Powerpoint presentation to get deep thinking on a project.  It’s the best way to experiment without actually building anything.

The Amazon Principles in Summary:

  1. Obsess over the customer 
  2. Take ownership of results 
  3. Leaders are right – A lot 
  4. Invent and simplify 
  5. Hire and develop the best 
  6. Insist on the highest standards 
  7. Think big 
  8. Have a bias for action 
  9. Practice frugality 
  10. Be vocally self-critical 
  11. Earn the trust of others 
  12. Dive deep 
  13. Have backbone – Disagree & commit 
  14. Deliver results
  15. Strive to be Earth’s Best Employer
  16. Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility

John’s suggested additional Principle – The Golden Rule:

“Treat others as you’d like to be treated — employees, vendors, partners, brands, small companies, competitors, press, critics, community. Contribute and be a leading steward of your community. Foster and lobby not for your best interests, but for future innovation and competition’s best interest. Conduct yourself, both personally and as an organization, in a way your mom and your kids would be proud of. Always.  Treat others as you would like to be treated. Respect brands, intellectual property and other businesses. Don’t seek unfair business advantage. Invest and encourage your employees to contribute to their community. Be a leader in all matters related to employee safety, inclusion and well-being.”

John Rossman, The Amazon Way
Every business model is undergoing rampant change driven by technology. We need to shrink the change. We need to find little ways, little changes to make, that have a big impact. @JohnERossman on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round 

Here are John’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. #1 thing to be more innovative – Write out the idea. Get critical feedback.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Work with my clients. Writing my newsletter.
  3. Favourite tool for innovation – Wikipedia. Listen to podcasts.
  4. Keep project/client on track – Clearly define the mission up front.
  5. Differentiate – Be super clear about who your customers are and why they would love your product or service.

Action

Think about how you will compete in the digital era and work with your colleagues, work with your company’s leadership on building a specific set of hypotheses on how you’re going to win in the future.

Think about the second and the third horizon – you need to be acting and investing and exploring concept as early as possible.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank John through his website.

Suggested Guest

John suggested we have a conversation with Roger Martin, author of A New Way to Think on a future InnovaBuzz Podcast episode.

Links

Cool Things About John

  • John has consulted with many great brands including Novartis, Fidelity Investments, Microsoft, Walmart, and Nordstrom.
  • John has been Interim chief technology officer for the Gates Foundation, Innovation advisor to T-mobile as well as Interim CIO for a national retailer.
You are never done re-inventing the customer experience.  Your goal is to be excellent. Use metrics to improve the experience. @JohnERossman on #InnovaBuzz podcast https://innovabiz.co/johnrossman Click To Tweet

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is a transformational marketing strategist, podcaster, speaker, the chief innovator and founder of Innovabiz who partner with innovative, exceptional business coaches and consultants to enable you to build visibility, professional credibility and a deep connection with your ideal, dream clients, so that you will achieve growth and be able to make a difference to more ideal clients. Jürgen's mantra is Let's Make Marketing Human again. He believes that marketing is the art and science of creating and sustaining exceptional, remarkable customer experiences and relationships. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, as well as on Innovabiz' Twitter, Facebook, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Tales of Marketing Transformation Show and his personal Photography website.

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