Amazon 2020 Leadership Principles

Seattle, Washington, United States
500000 - 1000000

Amazon is the biggest retailer company in the world. On top they also own AWS which is the biggest cloud infrastructure provider in the world. A world of superlatives. Amazon is one of the biggest companies on the globe and is trying to guide their employees with these 14 leadership principles.

Customer Obsession

Customers are the first priority at Amazon. An important methodology that plays to it, is working backwards. Normally you should start with what the customer actually wants and then decide what to build or do based on that.


Owning a process or system at Amazon is important. And this means owning something in short-term and long-term and are owning even processes or systems outside the employee's scope.

Invent and Simplify

Ideas contributing to Amazon's success are important. Trying new things, even if they do not succeed is an important process in Amazon's success. When something is successful it should be simplified to make it easy, reusable and understandable for others.

Are Right, A Lot

Being right is important in every step at Amazon. By being right you will have an advantage to co-workers and other companies. Training to be right can be achieved in different ways like experience or learning.

Learn and Be Curious

Getting knowledge is an essential part at Amazon. By learning from internal but also external resources, Amazon makes sure that employees are trained and are industry-wide top performers. Learning new skills outside your normal scope is necessary as well.

Hire and Develop the Best

Amazon has a high hiring bar. They want to hire the best of the best. And when the best ones are employees, Amazon makes sure to train them accordingly so they act on a constant high level.

Insist on the Highest Standards

Having high standards makes sure that Amazon's quality of work is high. Leaders will not be fine with solutions that are not solving all use-cases.

Think Big

Results matter. But what is even more important is to think outside of the box. Results can impact different things in unexpected ways. Think the in the big picture to discover problems and opportunities early.

Bias for Action

Take risky decisions when needed. Not every decision has to be based on thousands of arguments. Often it is simpler to just do it.


Creating impactful results is important. But creating these results with less effort actually helps to keep the results in long-term and making changes easy.

Earn Trust

When coming into a new company, group of people, or team it is important to earn trust. This trust is essential for a lot of other leadership principles. Earning this trust by communication and delivering results is a key in a career at Amazon.

Dive Deep

Similar to learning and being curious, leaders make sure that they examine topics deeply to understand but also see problems and improve processes or systems. Deep understanding can help to see side-effects and potential conflicts.

Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit

Taking decisions is hard. Disagreeing on decisions is harder. And still commiting to decisions contradicting the own opinion is the hardest. But it is needed at Amazon to bring the company forward. Disagree and commit!

Deliver Results

On top of all the other leadership principles, this principle is probably the most important one. At Amazon it is important to deliver results, at all times to bring the company forward. Results are what customers will see in the end and will make the company money.

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