Amazon has a unique approach to honesty, which I personally experienced when I was part of the Fashion Leadership team. They have a crucial leadership principle called vocally self-critical, which Jeff Bezos personally describes like this: “Leaders do not believe that their own or their team’s body odor smells of perfume.” At Amazon, you are expected to come forward with problems or information, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing.
I interview Sean Gorman, in my book Thoughtfully Ruthless: The Key to Exponential Growth. While director of the Kindle Store, Gorman found this the most unusual aspect of Amazon’s culture.
"Many other companies inadvertently teach their employees that to get ahead, you need to hide your mistakes. When you show up at Amazon, you’re told the opposite, which is that to succeed at Amazon you need to expose your mistakes, fix them, and prevent them from happening again. Then you need to share with everybody else so they can avoid the same mistakes." You can read more interviews and insights about Amazon’s culture in my Inc. articles below or in Chapter 11 of my book.
How honest are you when you make a mistake? Does it come naturally to you? Does your company expect and encourage it?
If you hide your mistakes and flaws, you miss an opportunity to teach your teams.
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