If you’re searching for the magic formula that leads to personal and business success, look no further than Tony Hsieh, the CEO of wildly successful shoe retailer Zappos.com. With Hsieh, a Taiwanese American, at the helm, Zappos’ gross merchandise sales grew from $1.6 million in 2000 to over $1 billion in 2009.
In a recent interview featured in The New York Times, Hsieh shared his views on how solid leadership, a strong company culture and employee values are the keys to business success. Through his own experience, Hsieh found that good leadership boiled down to creating and maintaining a cohesive and enjoyable company environment. In order to create that ideal environment for Zappos, he actually went out of his way to ask every single employee for their opinion of what the company’s values should be—and based on those opinions, he produced a list of his company’s 10 core values.
In addition, Zappos is known for its yearly compiled “culture book,” where employees are free to write about what they think the company means to them. Innovative company practices such as these allow for a completely open and unbiased flow of information and alerts Hsieh to how his employees are faring.
Whether we are graduates looking to start our own companies, college students looking for coveted internships, or high school students thinking about potential careers for the future, we can all gain from Hsieh’s sound advice. Sure, job salaries and benefits are important, but we should also consider whether our values match those of the company as well. In addition, Hsieh’s emphasis on valuing every employee’s opinion illustrates that maintaining strong ethics is something that always translates into success. Perhaps most importantly, we should remain true to ourselves. In Hsieh’s words, “We really recognize and celebrate each person’s individuality, and we want their true personalities to shine in the workplace environment.”
Photo courtesy of Inc. Magazine