Core values: learning from Zappos.com
I’ve noticed Tony Hsieh’s book, “Delivering Happiness” when passing through airports and train stations for the past few years, but I couldn’t imagine what an online shoe retailer might teach me about my own small business or the nonprofit clients we serve. Wrong again.
“Delivering Happiness” begins as a chronicle of Tony Hsieh’s professional life (less personally relevent unless you went to Harvard and are a dot.com entrepreneur, but interesting none the less). But I really started paying attention when Mr. Hsieh begins to explain how Zappos’ core values were developed and how he sees them as a formal expression of his company’s culture.
‘Culture’ is a hot topic these days. I’ve been theorizing for years that the organizations that get the most from the work we do at Big Duck have a culture that is able to embrace and adapt to what a brandraising, campaign, or training engagement delivers. I’ve also noticed that organizations that embrace articulating, sharing, and living by their values often seem the healthiest: staffed by people who are passionate and engaged, making great strides in their work, and more. It’s a bit like exercising and eating right: you start off because it’s the right thing to do, and over time, the benefits are surprising and motivating.
Hsieh ends his book with a discussion about happiness and a bit of the research he’s applied to zappos.com’s relationships with their customers, staff and vendors. It’s relevent for anyone who manages people, works with clients, or wants to be more intentional about their own happiness.
I’m going to do more thinking about these topics in 2013. If you are too, I suggest you check out the book, which is coming out in paperback in late March 2013, or is available now in hardcover. Let me know what you think.