How to Have Amazon’s High-Performance Culture Without the Backstabbing

In what some are calling an exposé, the New York Times offered a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the corporate culture of one of the tech world’s most visible and versatile players. While many of the article’s anecdotes appear damning, Amazon’s core tenets sound right. They lay the groundwork for a dynamic, challenging environment where the standard is high and “business as usual” is not in the vocabulary. That’s something many entrepreneurs (including myself) likely relate to and strive for in their own businesses.  

I’ve never stepped foot inside Amazon or talked to an employee myself so I don’t wish to make sweeping assertions about what’s “wrong” with their culture based on a few anecdotes or testimonials from former employees. In addition to its criticisms, the article notes high rewards associated with those who thrive in Amazon’s environment. It must work well for some people, or the company wouldn’t be as large or as successful as it is.

But anytime fear is a driving force for employees, it’s worth considering the health of a company’s culture. Is it possible to have big ideas and a stimulating environment without a cutthroat mentality? I say it is.

Below are two ways to set a high standard while fostering mutual loyalty and respect:

1. Foster a team environment.

I’ve long written about how important it is to work collaboratively on your organization’s how. To really engage everyone on your team, it’s essential to build a culture that encourages both individual ownership and working toward a goal together (rather than systematically pitting workers against each other). Do you want to ensure decisions won’t be driven purely by self-interest? Then don’t be overly aggressive in culling the ranks of your workforce, thereby requiring those who want to stay to prove themselves superior to colleagues who won’t make the cut.

Every employee should be measured against the standard (which should absolutely be high) rather than against each other. Do your job as a leader and you won’t have to fire people. You’ll either coach people to reach the standard or you’ll coach them out (and to a better fit).

Reality television shows with only one winner provide examples of what happens when competitiveness is artificially dialed up. Alliances are formed (and broken) on a week-by-week basis, and decisions are driven by consideration of what’s best for the team only insofar as the team is needed—finally, it’s self-preservation that carries the day.

There are costs to instilling such a cutthroat mentality, both in-house and once employees leave. In Amazon’s case, “[r]ecruiters…say that other businesses are sometimes cautious about bringing in Amazon workers because they have been trained to be so combative. The derisive local nickname for Amazon employees is ‘Amholes’—pugnacious and work-obsessed.” 

2. Be demanding, driven, and human.

Some of the article’s anecdotes are striking enough to make one stop and consider the cost of winning in business. If, as former employees have alleged, such life circumstances as having a child, navigating a life-threatening illness or providing compassionate care for a dying loved one become grounds for negative performance reviews and cause for termination, it’s worth asking ourselves if a line has been crossed.

Value your people, not just their contributions to the bottom line. Ironically, the more you do, the more likely they are to be high-value contributors as well. When you build loyalty in your team, you have more engaged employees. According to Gallup, engaged employees are more likely to go above and beyond. I’d rather have people go above and beyond because they are stimulated and inspired to be their best than because they are driven by fear.

I am a huge proponent of pushing limits and creating a badass, driven work environment. And I’m all for inspiring people to be the best they can be. But I’m also one of the crazy ones who believe it’s possible to do that without creating armholes and a-holes. 

Jason Forrest

Jason Forrest has disrupted the sales training industry by creating the first training program that changes behavior. This is done through 1) teaching tactical real-world processes; 2) the language of persuasion, 3) removing the mental leashes that hold people back, and 4) through a program-based training approach. 

This philosophy is what led his Warrior Selling® and Leadership Sales Coaching programs to be ranked in the top 2 of the World’s Top Sales Development Programs, by Global Gurus. His provocative style of speaking his truth ranks him at number 5 on the Global Sales Guru list. 

Jason is a Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, the science of influence and behavioral change. He is also a Practitioner in Accelerated Evolution, the psychology of removing fear in high performers.

Jason Is On A Mission To Ignite Pride, Purpose, And Respect For Professional Selling.

Found it Interesting? Share it Now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Posts

NFL

Unveiling Winning Strategies: Lessons from NFL Playoffs for Sales Teams

February 12, 2024

In the exhilarating aftermath of Super Bowl LVIII, the Chiefs' overtime triumph against the 49ers [...]

Read More »
the benefits of a sales trainer - FPG jason forrest best sales trainer

Accelerate Your Growth: The Benefits of Investing in a Sales Trainer

February 9, 2024

In today’s competitive landscape, distinguishing between merely meeting quotas and shattering sales records often boils [...]

Read More »
in home services

Revolutionizing the In-Home Services Industry through Advanced Sales Training

January 30, 2024

Explore the transformative power of advanced sales training in the in-home services industry. From building [...]

Read More »

Forrest Performance Group

The Sales Recruiting and Sales Training Industry Needed to Get Disrupted!

FPG is the fastest-growing sales training, sales management training, and sales headhunting and recruiting company in the United States. A global leader and designer of sales, management, and leadership training programs. Forrest Performance Group has won multiple international awards for its one-of-a-kind, behaviorally-focused training methodology.

Jason Forrest - fractional sales leadership services

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

Book Mary & Jason Now

Get started today before this once in a lifetime opportunity expires.