Category Archives: Leadership

The Tension is Intentional

It is no accident many of the Amazon Leadership Principles seemingly contradict each other: they were carefully selected and crafted to encourage leaders to be thoughtful about the gray area. Bias for Action vs. Think Big represent favorite example of …Continue reading

Good Intentions are Never Enough

Everyone has good intentions… Everyone WANTS to do the right thing (e.g. read the doc sent out by email the night before). But good intentions are never enough. Stuff doesn’t get done based solely on people’s good intentions. Change can’t …Continue reading

Have Strong Opinions, Weakly Held

This week’s tip relates to the Are right, A Lot leadership Amazon Leadership Principle: Leaders are right a lot. They have strong business judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs. A great mnemonic …Continue reading

Everyone’s a Leader

The word leader is defined as: leader noun a person or thing that leads. The word leader is not a synonym of manager. Everyone is a leader. It’s entirely possible for a people manager to be a poor leader (which …Continue reading

Have a Plan (With Dates)

I’ve written a lot on the importance of having a plan. This week’s Leadership Principle tip doubles-down on that. Consider a status update: Bad: “The team will investigate the issue.” Good: “The team will complete the investigation of the issue …Continue reading

How Meeting/Not-Meeting Goals relates to Earn Trust and Insist on Highest Standards

This week’s Leadership Principle tip is about how setting goals, and holding yourself accountable, relates to Earn Trust and Insist on Highest Standards.Continue reading

Dive Deep != Micromanaging

You’ve said it. You’ve heard others say it. You are not quite sure how you feel about it. “So-and-so is a micro-manager. He/she’s always in my shorts and doesn’t let me just do my job.” This week’s Leadership Principle tip …Continue reading

Just Right Porridge and Leadership Principles

Last week I wrote about Have Backbone, Disagree and Commit. This week the topic is about how to get the balance right when living Leadership Principles. Just as it is possible to not live a leadership principle (under-index), it is …Continue reading

Have Backbone, Disagree and Commit

We’ve decided to adopt Amazon’s Leadership Principles at Control4. For a while we debated creating our own, or modifying Amazon’s, but in the end we decided just running with Amazon’s as-is would work best. Last week I sent a mail …Continue reading

Kindel’s Law

I’m not sure how this law thing works. But I’m jealous of folks like Moore, Atwood, and Shannon. I think everyone should have a law named after them. In 2013, when I was tasked with build Amazon’s equivalent of ApplePay …Continue reading

Tools to Achieve Clarity of Thought

This post inventories the tools I use from my toolbox when I need to drive clear thinking in product development. I was inspired to write this based on a Twitter conversation in March: The more details you know, the better …Continue reading

Ownership

A strong bias towards ownership is important in org culture. The problem is, folks often over index on ‘I own this area, so I’m going to nail it!’ vs. ‘I am an owner on behalf of the entire company and …Continue reading

Clear Narratives Show Instead of Tell

This is yet-another-post on the topic of Amazon-style “six-page memos”, aka Narratives. This post focuses on the mantra: “Great narratives show, they don’t tell.” When writing things you believe to be facts, ask yourself: How do I know? How can …Continue reading

Customer, Business, Technology, Organization (CBTO)

CBTO = Customer + Business + Technology + OrganizationContinue reading

Details Matter in Presenting Narratives

Narratives are written documents used to present clear thinking. Narratives enable readers to quickly understand the author’s ideas in order to drive robust conversations and decisive decision making. Details matter when it comes to printing narratives for others to read. …Continue reading

Merit Badges – A Mental Model for Success

Today I celebrated my 5th-year anniversary working at Amazon. Woot! It’s also the 5th anniversary of me announcing I was going to Amazon as an April Fool’s joke. Tee-hee. (Yellow Amazon employee badges indicate 5-year tenure) This milestone given me …Continue reading

What it Means to Be Great Product Manager

A Tweetstorm of mine from earlier in the week: https://twitter.com/natbro/timelines/611337333711843330 Piling on a comment @natbro made about PMs: Besides customers, there are two groups of people involved in building tech products: Engineers and everyone else. Only the engineers actually produce …Continue reading

Attention is the Currency of Leadership

Great leaders optimize how they spend their attention. They are skilled at turning up the heat to get others to focus their attention on the right things at the right times. Attention is the currency of leadership and each person …Continue reading

Find Work That Does Not Feel Like Work

The first thing I ask people who are looking for a new job is “What work do you want to do in your ideal job?” It is interesting how few people answer this question. Almost everybody wants to answer different …Continue reading

Once I was Afraid

Once I was afraid to ride a bike. Then I did it. Once I was afraid to program in BASIC. Then I did it. Once I was afraid of getting married. Then I married Julie. Once I was afraid of …Continue reading