I happened to hear an interview with Tony Hsieh, the CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos this week. It was a fascinating interview and one worth listening to (the link is at the bottom of this blog). Hsieh’s belief is that if you get a company’s culture right and happiness then other things such as great customer service, increasing sales and growing profits will take care of themselves. He seems to have a point. Zappos recently sold itself to Amazon for just over a billion dollars. It has continued to grow even during this slow economy. They are adding new products to their lineup such as cosmetics. Interestingly, they have created a consulting arm called Zappos Insights to help other organizations change their cultures.
My own experiences are consistent with the Zappos experience. A case in point was a visit I made to a new client last week. While the offices are not as wildly decorated as the ones you would see at Zappos, there was a relaxed, confident, and friendly demeanor in the employees I met. I found out that this client is one of the top performers in their market area and delivers great customer service. In a review with his management team, the president briefly reviewed the numbers but reminded everyone that good financial performance is the result of having other things right. In particular he noted that having engaged employees who constantly keep customers’ needs at the forefront is essential to their success.
Something to consider. Listen to the interview with Tony Hsieh. It is well worth it.