Having heard a number of inspiring stories about Zappos over the years, I bought the book, ‘Delivering Happiness – A path to profits, passion and purpose’ to learn more about their incredible story.
I struggled to get through the first half of the book. In Tony Hsieh, the CEO and co-founder, I couldn’t relate to someone who chose to spend part of his upbringing as a professional poker player in Las Vegas.
The book became meaningful to me when Tony explains how their culture was fostered and how they developed their 10 core values. This was not done by the founders but by involving every member of their team in a process that took more than 12 months. He then explains in detail how they live their values and the effect this has had on team members inside and outside of work.
Two other gems for me were:
- Tony Hsieh emphasises that the telephone is the real relationship building tool at Zappos. Most unusual for an internet company and a very different approach to their parent company, Amazon.
- When employees log on to their computer a photo of a randomly selected employee appears on the screen. They are given a multiple choice test to name the employee. Afterwards the profile and bio of that employee is shown. What a great way of reducing silos in a growing company.
Tony Hsieh did not use a ghost writer for this book which I reckon was a mistake. However, because of the insights mentioned above and the depth of his explanation about the development and evolution of their culture at Zappos, it still proved to be a worthwhile read with useful insights.