The values and principles that Amazon touts are in stark contrast to the reality of what employees there experience. Remember the scathing 2015 New York Times exposure of Amazon’s culture and Jeff Bezos incredibly stupid response “That’s not the Amazon I know” and his witch-hunt with Jay Carney to find employees who leaked information on this to the New York Times. 

I have spent considerable time in Seattle interviewing former and current employees of Amazon. Their reactions to these values and principles are pretty unanimous in that they echo Bezos’, “That’s not the Amazon I know”.  A number of those indicated that the Amazon name reflects the culture there - “It’s a jungle where they eat their young”.

These values and principles are an example of weak words developed by the neutered Human Resources people, who are masters of their own gobbledygook. As Leslie Hook discusses in her Financial Times opinion piece, it never ceases to amaze me how these masterpieces of nothingness get plastered throughout organizations, yet bear no resemblance to how those organizations actually operate.

It’s about time for leadership in all organizations to revisit their stated values and principles and reconcile them with their reality.

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