is now over half a million people. For such an incredibly automated service, this is an astounding number of employees.

But you’d be hard pressed to find ANY business where its success doesn’t lie in the hands of its people.

So how do they manage this?

At its heart, Amazon has captured fourteen Leadership Principles:

  1. Customer obsession
  2. Ownership
  3. Invent and simplify
  4. Are right, a lot
  5. Learn and be curious
  6. Hire and develop the best
  7. Insist on the highest standards
  8. Think big
  9. Bias for action
  10. Frugality
  11. Earn trust
  12. Dive deep
  13. Have backbone, disagree and commit
  14. Deliver results

These don’t sound very exotic, do they? In fact, they could apply to an organization of any size, in pretty much any industry.

But if you start thinking through these, you start seeing the character of the company, and why it continues to lead in many dimensions. An organization which takes seriously that it “thinks big” and has a “bias for action” clearly is going to be out there trying creative stuff.

And it’s not balanced by “caution,” but instead to exercise “frugality” and “deliver results.” So if you’re proposing something big and audacious, you’d better squeeze the nickels out of it as best you can, and ensure that it has the potential for big results.

This is how core values and principles end up creating a unique business. It’s about driving the key decisions at all levels, and how you define “success” for yourself.