How did Amazon.com become the “Everything Store” we know today?
Let’s take a look at its founder Jeff Bezos and how his intrinsic motivation and social DNA created the online retailers’s Brand Culture.
Jeff Bezos – DLF (Dominion Leadership & Freedom)
Bezos is a DLF through and through. In 2013, a book entitled The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone revealed what his employees have known for years. On one hand, Bezos is compassionate, charming and a humorous person in public. On the other, he is an abrasive leader that dominates with fear and demand respect. He is known to be driven, bold, and caring nothing for consensus and civility. He can explode into what some employees call “nutters.” His standards are exacting and his rebukes devastating. And the way Bezos makes deals or acquires other companies is nothing short of complete domination with absolute refusal to lose in any way.
We’re not here to bash anybody’s character. Nobody can argue the success of Amazon. These are just the facts and reveal the positive and negative traits of the DLF gift. For every strength that comes from this type of Motivational Value System, there can be a weakness.
The DLF has no issues wielding institutional authority. Here are some choice Bezos quotes as reported by the author Brad Stone:
“Are you lazy or just incompetent?”
“I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?”
“Do I need to go down and get the certificate that says I’m CEO of the company to get you to stop challenging me on this?”
As a DLF, Bezos imprints his intrinsic motivations and social DNA into the work culture. Amazon is renowned for being a confrontational and competitive place to work. In fact Amazon’s 14 leadership principles demand it. Here is an excerpt:
“Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit: Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.”
Some thrive working at Amazon. Other former employees would never go back. Whether you agree or disagree with his approach, the truth is, in order to manage a $300 billion plus organization with over 150,000 employees, a DLF approach is essential. This brings us to Amazon the company itself.
Amazon Brand Culture: Scalable Systems through Valued Access
When a DLF like Bezos founds a company, it is imprinted with the Brand Culture of “Scalable Systems.” This is the “promise” of the brand and basically means the company wants to be bigger and better using systems to grow. Everything in Amazon, from marketing to warehousing and now delivery by drones, is about systems to help the brand scale. While Amazon started with books, many don’t see the full scale of its enterprise. For example, Amazon Web Services handles the computer infrastructure of thousands of technology companies, universities, and government agencies. There’s also TV and tablets just to name a few more.
Amazon also has the secondary Brand Culture of “Valued Access.” This is the “personality” of the brand that makes value as accessible as possible to all customers. The Valued Access Brand Culture is imprinted by a CVS (Compelling Value & Stewardship). If it is the secondary of the company, then it is typically also the founder’s secondary. But all secondary Brand Cultures can be changed over time by new leadership and market dynamics. In this case, we do believe that Jeff Bezos is a DLF/CVS.
To summarize, Jeff Bezos, as a DLF/CVS, imprinted the Brand Culture of Scalable Systems through Valued Access. Case in point, here is Amazon’s vision statement which is evidence of the Brand Culture:
Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
That’s the official vision that has shaped Amazon into becoming the Everything Store. But in simpler terms, according to Bezos, “You won’t find a cheaper, friendlier place to get everything you need than Amazon.” There is your DLF/CVS in a
nutter nutshell. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
In the end, there is a lot every DLF and CVS that wants to build a successful company can learn from Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s Brand Culture. You don’t have to be an online retailer either. Who knows, maybe someone armed with this MDNA will provide some stiff competition.
Read the full article on Jeff Bezos and the book here (it’s a great read) >
Please note that these are unofficial profiles only and have not been verified. Description is only based upon public information and may represent either primary or secondary MDNA profiles. This profile is intended for educational purposes only to demonstrate the possibilities of MDNA for those that have been personally assessed.