What business are you really in?
Zappos.com is a company that has come to success by selling shoes online. Just think about this as a business model – “shoes online”. Fit and appearance are so important to buying shoes and impossible to identify by looking at an image. What Zappos has done is build the whole organization on the idea of providing excellent customer service. As CEO Tony Hiesh points out, “We`re continuing our focus on service, which includes 24/7 customer service, free overnight shipping and free return shipping with a 365-day return policy”. If the shoe doesn’t fit you simply return it free of charge.

Does your culture match your goals?This principle of care permeates every aspect of the business. New applicants are screened very carefully to make certain that they will be willing to do what it takes to deliver customer satisfaction. Each employee is trained in every aspect of the operation so they know how to navigate to a solution for the person buying the shoes if there is a problem or special need. As Tony Hsieh points out, “If you get the culture right, a lot of the other stuff will take care of itself.”

There are several videos on youtube that capture the atmosphere at Zappos headquarters. People are having fun doing their work and appear to be well taken care of. Food is available at no cost to the employee. There is a nap room and dance machine near the foyer. The team spirit is evident – you would recognize it even after hours by the personal touches and obvious “signs of life” everywhere. Employee care equates to customer care. There is no incongruency here.

A Tour of Zappos

Vision from the top
Tony Hsieh is an INTJ which means that he can see endless possibilities which are translated into a strategic vision and systematized to realize the vision through objective rational decisions. The INTJ understands the role that teams can play if well managed as part of a complex system. The culture that was created at Zappos is aligned with the goal of customer service. The culture is not a reflection of how Tony’s INTJ type appears to the viewer. The strategic focus and day to day steady assurance of the INTJ is what allowed this culture to be created and sustained. Tony engages others to implement his vision.

Consider both culture and fit when hiring
The implication of this for our own businesses or careers is to determine what type of culture we need to align with the service that we provide and for our ideal customers needs. We do not need to go counter to our MBTI type and become something that we are not in order to create a culture that works. What we might wish to pay attention to is to choose to work with those whose natural strengths support our stated goal. Just like shoes “fit” is important – it is important to find the right person who is right for the role and can also contribute to the culture.

Category: Best practices
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