What Got Amazon Here Won’t Get It There

The problem at Amazon is not simply that its culture has gone awry; more importantly, it has become disconnected from the company’s brand.

Amazon’s brand has always been grounded in its aspiration of becoming “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.”  And its leaders have used the organization’s core values, “Leadership Principles”, to guide the company in service of that vision.  But now it seems that some of the attitudes and approaches at Amazon have become perverted so they actually now detract from the brand mission.

To get back on track, Amazon needs to restore brand-culture fusion by:

  • Aligning and integrating its customer and employee efforts. Instead of adding goals and values, Amazon should have maintained its single-focused vision and refreshed its Leadership Principles to ensure they speak to its relationships with customers and employees.
  • Engaging employees with customers. Amazon must appeal to the humanity of its people and engage employees more holistically.  An effective way to do this is to connect employees with customers – through storytelling, dashboards, first-hand interactions and observations, collaborative customer problem-solving, and more.
  • Embracing culture change as the path to sustained success. The company’s commitment to its brand mission as Earth’s most customer-centric company has been – and will always be — unwavering.  Integrating its culture with this identity, instead of pursuing it as a separate tack, ensures the commitment to culture change will be as strong.

Read my full analysis and recommendations in my latest Brand+Culture series post on LinkedIn, Amazon Needs To Restore Brand-Culture Fusion.

(Thanks to Marshall Goldsmith whose book title What Got You Here Won’t Get You There I’ve liberally adapted here.)


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