A practical application of Amazon Leadership Principles

Photo by Ian Schneider from Unsplash.

Since we started scaling up Neosperience from a single company to a group, while onboarding people with different stories and experiences, making everyone feel comfortable has been one of our top priorities.
We know this posed several challenges we had to consider to reach the ambitious goal of having everyone “feel like being at home” within Neosperience.
We know that the three keys driving people’s motivation are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Such principles are good at keeping a single person engaged with a company or a team. Unfortunately, they do not provide sufficient enough guidelines about the strategies to help employees participate in a shared vision. Moreover, they do not explain an inclusive and supportive behavior between different teams. Furthermore, onboarding teams with different cultures and history but excellent at providing value to customers means being able to match strategies that effectively works and the principles behind them.

Be inspired by great stories, make them real.

Stories make people live exciting lives. We have been fortunate enough to work in unprecedented times when companies in just a few years grew up from a small startup to international enterprise companies. So we looked to them and tried to understand what principles they follow daily and the outcome of such tenets in company growth, team satisfaction, and customer value.

We decided to deep dive into Amazon Leadership Principles to understand how to apply them in practical situations and how far this takes us. At first naive reading, they could sound abstract and not concrete, but such distilled knowledge needs to be meditated and elaborated before becoming actionable. Leadership Principles are not prescriptions nor legal articles, and instead, they can be intended as guidelines to strive for to inspire and be inspired in everything every employee does at Amazon. Customer Obsession means, for example, to avoid developing features just for technical pleasure or “why we can” principles, but validate early your ideas with customers. At the same time, Learn and Be Curious is an input to invest in R&D and explore new paths, avoiding to fall on the status quo.

One of our primary goals is to develop products that raise the bar of performance of our customers. We applied these principles through our product strategy, contextualizing them to product development to shed light on what is in our future and how every employee at Neosperience can help to make our dream of a more empathic world become a reality:

  • Customer Obsession: our solutions have and must have a direct connection to customers’ needs to provide them the best value. We should engineer our product’s features from the feedback provided by customers. One great idea is to start from the end of the process, with an internal press release about new features or products, and understand how it works moving backward. It is a powerful tool in product development, called “working backwards.” Every team within Neosperience has to understand what is happening in a continuously evolving market. One customer request does not make a feature, but it’s an idea that deserves to be explored to understand the impact it can produce on a similar business. Monitoring competition could be useful, but it is not our prime focus because we’re here to fill a need and serve customers, not do better than others.

The road ahead

These principles are a strong foundation of our management policies and should be the reason behind every choice we make. Companies are not the perfect expression of the theoretical tenets, and Neosperience makes no exception: our teams are encouraged to strive for them. At the same time, we support and coach them when this does not happen. Leadership principles should be our main guideline in Neosperience for product development and be enforced through our decisions. We’ll share more details about how we architected our products following these principles in the next months.

Stay tuned and build great stuff!

My name is Luca Bianchi. I am Chief Technology Officer at Neosperience and, the author of Serverless Design Patterns and Best Practices. I have built software architectures for production workload at scale on AWS for nearly a decade.

Neosperience Cloud is the one-stop SaaS solution for brands aiming to bring Empathy in Technology, leveraging innovation in machine learning to provide support for 1:1 customer experiences.

You can contact me via Twitter and LinkedIn.

Chief Technology Officer at Neosperience. Loves speaking about Serverless, ML, and Blockchain. ServerlessDays Milano co-organizer. Opinions are my own.