To celebrate its accomplishments, Zappos publishes an annual Culture Book. The 2009 edition is a slickly produced 350-page hardback packed with testimonials from employees, many of whom likened Zappos to a group of prized relatives. Britnee B., an employee since 2008, wrote, “Every day when I come to work, I am overwhelmed with the genuine smiles and happy spirits of my Zappos family.”
In Hsieh’s introduction to the book he asks, “So what is the Zappos culture?” He has several answers, and concludes with, “But most of all, it’s about having faith that if we do the right thing, then in the long run we will succeed and build something great.”
Unlike many of the companies that Hsieh had worked with previously, where technical skill trumped social skills and enervating politics trumped cooperation, Zappos has a belief that the right culture with the right values will always produce the best organizational performance, and this belief trumps everything else. Of course, there is no real proof of the cause and effect, and Magness himself admits that “it takes a leap of faith” to believe it. But that’s a leap that Hsieh has gladly embraced — and so far he’s convinced his employees to jump as well.
- Dick Richards is an organizational change, personal growth, and leadership development consultant, and is the author of Is Your Genius At Work? 4 Key Questions to Ask Before Your Next Career Move (Davies-Black Publishing, 2005).