It was 1995 when Amazon.com emerged as online book seller. It wasn’t long before it added music and movie CD/DVD’s and by 1998 it was generating revenue of $650 million. During the next ten years the company just kept adding to its offerings, while generating superb customer satisfaction. People loved being able to read product reviews before purchasing. Their world-class logistics/warehousing led to fast and reliable shipping. In 2008 Amazon revenue was $19 billion.
In the past few years, music and movie downloads were added to the mix followed by the launch of the Kindle, the electronic book reading device coupled with books being offered in either electronic form or traditional paper form. Recently the Kindle Fire was launched, the first tablet that offers some very unique features versus the iPad. Estimated revenue for 2011 is $49 billion.
What drives this company to generate a constant stream of fresh ideas, each executed beautifully? Here is what Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO said recently in an interview: “Everything we do is driven by seeing opportunity rather than being worried about defending.” It is a terrific culture of winning that Amazon Jeff has created.
Great leaders set the expectation that the organization will do exciting things and execute with excellence. Specifically, here is what gutsy leaders do:
1.) Remind the organization regularly that the goal is finding and executing fresh ideas and winning.
2.) Celebrate successes very visibly within the organization and use them to reinforce the goal.
3.) Take a long term perspective; doing things will result in some failures. Tell the troops that some setbacks are to be expected.