Amazon is well known for having a published list of leadership principles. There are 13 of them and they are so well engrained into the culture that employees actually weave them into everyday conversation. I know this intimately, my wife having worked at Amazon for years. Initially my reaction was to scoff at such overt devotion, but on a week when the Amazon stock price surpassed $1,000 per share, I cannot help but appreciate what they have accomplished. To maintain that consistent vision in an organization with hundreds of thousands of employees is as impressive as their financial performance.
In contrast, I recently finished the book Small Giants by Bo Burlingham. It is about a dozen or so companies that chose to "be great instead of big.” Their founders made the decision to prioritize a different set of values ahead of growth. Some did this out of a desire to lead an exceptional life without undue stress. Others out of a fierce loyalty to their employees, customers and suppliers. Still others a drive to improve the community around them. Having spent a majority of my career working at growth-obsessed startups, I found myself reacting to these stories with a mix of appreciation and disbelief. After all, isn’t the life blood of capitalism continued and relentless growth (which is reinvested in capital projects, which creates jobs, which increases spending, which makes the world go round)? While we all want our companies to be successful, whether we own them or work for them, it is encouraging and important to recognize that success can take different forms.
As a small business owner myself and as someone who is always striving improve, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to clearly convey what we stand for. I want employees to live it, vendors and partners to appreciate it and most importantly for clients to feel it in their interactions with us every day.
Below is a list of principles that 360ops aims to live by. I don’t expect these to be final or to last forever, but if we can embrace them and act accordingly, we will be well positioned for continued success.
Put the publisher’s interest ahead of our own.
Take extreme ownership of everything in our world, especially in stressful moments. Learn from mistakes and never make the same one twice.
Always Add Value
Add value for the publisher, either through increased yields or reduced costs. We must do this in order to remain in business.
Anticipate the publisher’s needs and address them before they ask. They should never wonder what we are working on.
Take the Extra Step
Be obsessively thorough in every project and deliverable, going above and beyond the obvious.