Happiness, Delivered

This post was originally published in January, 2011

delivering-happinessToday I finished listening to Tony Hsieh’s book Delivering Happiness. It was a fantastic audio book that taught me why Zappos is so Zappos!

There are so many things the company is doing to keep their culture alive and growing. One thing that really stood out throughout the book was Tony’s humility when it comes to talking about Zappos. He said they didn’t pioneer anything new with the Zappos culture, they just applied what they learned from others, such as reading Good to Great and Tribal Leadership. They put the research that is available to all of us, to work at Zappos.

It is also evident that Tony’s previous experience, the mother of all learning, played a large role in building the Zappos brand.

One solid takeaway from Delivering Happiness — for all the continuous improvement buffs out there: In chapter 6 Tony talks about Continuous Incremental Improvement (which by the way was #25 on Zappos’ initial list of 37 core values).

“So the challenge to everyone is this: make at least one improvement every week that makes Zappos better reflect our core values. The improvements don’t have to be dramatic. It can be as simple as adding an extra sentence or two to a form to make it more fun, for example. But if every employee made just one small improvement every week, to better reflect our core values, then by the end of this year we will have over 50,000 small changes that collectively will be a very dramatic improvement compared to where we are today.”

Continuous improvement is about the small stuff: consistent improvements from everyone. Matt Wrye at Beyond Lean finds the Lean parallels in the Zappos core values.

One last thought from the book. Forget what you learned about networking. Tony says to stop trying to network in the traditional sense. Build lasting relationships instead. Then in 2-3 years something might become of the relationship. The Huffington Post posted a snippet about Tony’s networking philosophy.

So there you have it. Improve continually and build relationships. If only we did these two things we would be on the path to greatness. But more importantly, we would surely be happy.