On Delivering Happiness

I recently finished reading the book Delivering Happiness – A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh. As the author best puts it “This book is not meant to be a comprehensive corporate history of Zappo or any of the previous business I’ve been involved in. It’s also not meant to be a complete autobiography…The purpose of this book is to give some of the highlights of the path that I took in my journey toward discovering how to find happiness in business and in life.”

The journey Tony takes the readers on is both very educational and exciting. Along the path, he shares great gems of wisdom that he has collected both on  from a personal basis and an organizational perspective. These include but are not limited to: management, leadership, following one’s passion, relationship building etc. His passion for vision, values and happiness radiates through and is very contagious and inspirational. Having personally experienced Zappos WOW experience, I can truly say that the material preached by the CEO is truly believed in and practiced throughout the organization. A highly recommended book!

Below are excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “One of the most interesting things about playing poker was learning the discipline of not confusing the right decision with the individual outcome of any single hand, but that’s what a lot of poker players do. If they win a hand, they assume they made the right bet, and if they lose a hand, they often assume they made the wrong bet. With the coin that lands on heads a third of the time, this would be like seeing the coin land on heads once (the individual outcome) and changing your behavior so you bet on heads, when the mathematically correct thing to do is to always bet on tails no matter what happened in the previous coin flip (the right decision).”

2- “We learned that we should never outsource our core competency. As an e-commerce company, we should have considered warehousing to be our core competency from the beginning. Outsourcing that to a third party and trusting that they would care about our customers as much as we would was one of our biggest mistakes. If we hadn’t reacted quickly, it would have eventually destroyed Zappos.”

3- “Looking back, a big reason we hit our goal early was that we decided to invest our time, money, and resources into three key areas: customer service (which would build our brand and drive word of mouth), culture (which would lead to the formation of our core values), and employee training and development (which would eventually lead to the creation of our Pipeline Team).”

4- “We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build. You can let all of your employees be your brand ambassadors, not just the marketing or PR department. And they can be brand ambassadors both inside and outside the office.”

5- “The best leaders are those that lead by example and are both team followers as well as team leaders. We believe that in general, the best ideas and decisions are made from the bottom up, meaning by those on the front lines that are closest to the issues and/or the customers. The role of a manager is to remove obstacles and enable his/her direct reports to succeed. This means the best leaders are servant-leaders. They server those they lead.”

6- “While we celebrate our individual and team successes, we are not arrogant nor do we treat others differently from how we would want to be treated. Instead, we carry ourselves with quiet confidence, because we believe that in the long run our character will speak for itself.”

7- “Your personal core values define who you are, and a company’s core values ultimately define the company’s character and brand. For individuals, character is destiny. For ogranizations, culture is destiny.”

8- “Happiness is really just about four things: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness (number and depth of your relationships), and vision/meaning (being part of something bigger than yourself).”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

Delivering Happiness

Delivering Happiness

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