(From The Washington Post) Video Transcript -- Tony Hsieh: I think maybe 50 years ago you had to choose between maximizing profits and making employees and customers happy. I think we are at the beginning of a very special time where, because everyone is so hyper connected, and because information travels so quickly through Twitter, blogs and so on, it is actually possible to have it all -- to make employees happy, to make customers happy, drive profits and growth, and ultimately make the shareholders, the investors happy.
Tom Heath: I'm Tom Heath, this is On Leadership, and today we have Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com and author of the new book, Delivering Happiness.
Tony Hsieh: For us, the whole belief is that our culture should be our number one priority, and if we get the culture right then most of the other stuff -- like great customer service, building a long term enduring brand -- will just happen naturally on its own.
We actually have ten core values, essentially a formalized definition of our culture. A lot of companies have what they call core values or guiding principles and so on. The problem is that they are usually very lofty sounding and they read like a press release the marketing department put out, and maybe you learn about it on day one of orientation but then it becomes just a plaque on the lobby wall.
For us we wanted to come up with 'committable' core values, and by committable I mean we are willing to hire and fire people based on whether they are living up to those core values, independent of their actual job performance.
When managers from other companies join us, we tell them we expect them to be spending 10 to 20 percent of their time outside the office, hanging out with their team, getting to know the people they work with. They are initially surprised and ask us, "That sounds fun, but is it really working?" Then we ask the people who have actually done it, 'How much more productive and effective is your team because of the higher levels of trust?' Communication is better; people are willing to do favors for each other because they are doing favors for friends not just co-workers. The answers we get back as far as increased productivity is anywhere from 20 percent to 100 percent.
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