Any company that produces the wealthiest person in the world is bound to be an incredible company. The company we are referring to is Amazon and we can learn a lot if we think like Amazon. From starting out as a simple online book retailer in 1995, Amazon has led a fascinating rise to success. The company now offers Amazon Web Services (AWS), retail goods, consumer electronics (Kindle), streaming and digital content, and so much more. How did Amazon do this, and what can we learn from their journey?
Former Amazon Director John Rossman is the author of the book Think Like Amazon: 50 ½ Ideas to Become a Digital Leader. In his book, John dives into the most important lessons and learnings from his time as an Amazon Executive. John developed the book to:
- Answer the questions he’s most frequently asked when giving talks around the world,
- Act as a full playbook for how Amazon would react to certain situations, and
- Define the mechanisms in place that have helped Amazon scale their business and continuously innovate.
During a Webinar with Anthony Taylor, John chatted about his experience and book. Below are four key take-a-ways from this Webinar:
Use the Right Metrics
Most companies simply refer to performance metrics as a formality and say, “OK, the numbers say we’ve had a decent day.” To be more effective, metrics should be used as a precision tool to identify the imperfections and correct them. Basically, they weed out the noise and focus on the details. When using metrics, it should be done very intentionally and not just for the sake of producing some data.
Installing rigorously considered and intentional KPI’s is one of Propel’s strengths. Making sure that you are measuring the right aspects of a process or function is not always easy. However, Propel’s proven methodology will ensure success and a measurable one at that.
Reduce the Friction
According to John Rossman, friction can be described as any element in a process where the customer must compensate for the service or product deficiency. Every customer question, issue or hassle is a friction point that needs to be smoothed out. The aim is to get to a point where “The best service is no service”. Simply, this means that you should provide such a great service that there is no need for the typical Customer Service Departments because there are no complaints.
Ultimately, this idea relates to classic LEAN ideology; reduce Non-Value-Added activities. At Propel, Lean is in our blood. We are experts at identifying these friction points and supporting you to smoothen them out, if not totally remove them.
Be a Day 1 Company
A Day 2 company is one that is not investing in the future of the company. They’re too content with the status quo, dislike change and forget the needs of the customer. A Day 2 company will suffer an inevitable death. In contrast, a Day 1 company is one that pays attention to trends and optimizes for the future or even makes the future. A Day 1 company is curious about the future customer and already planning for their needs.
Having a system that can quickly adapt to meet changing needs is another lean principle that we are champions of at Propel. We have a proven track record of transforming business processes from snails’ pace to flying ace that can future proof your company.
Be Patient: The Amazon wasn’t built in a day!
It’s hard to think of a world before Amazon, but there was a 10yr period when the company was rather flat. By taking a long-term view, investing in the right people and implementing the correct process Amazon was able to get to where it is today. It was not an over night success and it took iterating, leveraging Other Peoples Works (OPW) and patience before people could trust Amazon with their broad range of products.
Probably no secret you might say, but still humbling and impactful to hear from such a success. At Propel, we are constantly working with clients with the long-term view in mind knowing that the daily efforts to produce incremental improvements will eventually lead to a great product.
If these concepts have piqued your attention, consider getting yourself a copy of John Rossman’s book Think Like Amazon: 50 ½ Ideas to Become a Digital Leader in. We bet you can guess where to find it. If you are looking for any support on implementing these concepts, consider contacting Propel and we’d be more than happy to help.