Posts Tagged ‘Tony Hsieh’

Huge Cajones

January 9, 2014 2 comments

According to “No Managers Required: How Zappos Ditched The Old Corporate Structure For Something New”,  by the end of 2014, will have dismantled their corpo pyramid. Under the stewardship of maverick CEO Tony Hsieh, the 1500 employee company will be transitioned into a “holacracy” of 400, self-governing circles.

Hierarchy Holarchy

Talk about having huge cajones. Just think of the disruptive risk to business performance of making such a daring structural/operational change to a billion dollar enterprise.

Although I look forward to watching how the transformation plays out, I’m a bit skeptical that Mr. Hsieh can pull it off. After visiting the site of the “consultant” that will be advising the company during the transition ( and browsing through the ungodly long, complicated, formal Holacracy Constitution, the first thought that came to mind was “D’oh!“.

Twitter friend and guest blogger @serialmom sums up the situation with this insightful tweet:

SM Tweet

Watch And Learn

Vineet Nayar (HCL Technologies), Jim Goodnight (SAS Institute), Ricardo Semler (Semco), Terri Kelly (W. L. Gore), Tony Hsieh (, and John Mackey (Whole Foods Market). I try to follow and listen to what these CEOs say because they’re different, refreshing, authentic, and most importantly, eminently tweetable.

I’m happy to announce that I’ve just added Red Hat’s Jim Whitehurst to my CEO “watch and learn” list:

The quotes were plucked from “Management Tips From Red Hat’s Crazy Culture Every Company Should Steal”.

Fierce Transparency

February 4, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve been trying to figure out why I admire (I know, I know, they had a nasty security breach recently), Semco, and HCL Technologies so much. Since I have a burning need to understand “why“, I’ve concocted at least one reason: Tony Hsieh, Ricardo Semler, and Vineet Nayar ensure that fierce transparency is practiced within their companies and all their “initiatives” are rooted there.

Working in an environment without transparency is like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle without knowing what the finished picture is supposed to look like. – Vineet Nayar. Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down (Kindle Location 547). Kindle Edition.

Of course, I’m making up all this transparency stuff, but hey, it reinforces my weltanschauung (<- I had to look up the spelling a-freakin-gain!). That’s what humans do to give themselves comfort. No?


November 16, 2011 Leave a comment

In case you were wondering, Z6 stands for Zappos core value number 6:

I’m a huge Zappos fan and a VIP member (which means free overnight shipping for any purchase!). Thus, I get daily e-mails from on special deals. The snippet you see above appeared at the bottom of one of those e-mails.

The joyful reason for this post is that Zappos is (rightfully) tenacious about promoting their 10 core values both internally and externally. CEO Tony Hsieh and his merry band truly understand how difficult it is to sustain and maintain a culture of joy and excellence – which is a pre-requisite to both financial and emotional success. Thus, with every chance they get, which includes the daily e-mail, they spread the word.

How about your company? Do you even know what their core values are, let alone “walk the talk“? Nah, an approach like Zappos’s won’t work there, right? It’s simply auto-assumed that writing down some inarguable altruisms and pontificating about them from time to time does the trick. There are more important issues to tend to, no?

VHP Package

January 27, 2011 3 comments

Several months ago, when I bought and read CEO Tony Hsieh‘s “Delivering Happiness: A Path To Profits, Passion, and Purpose” book, I signed up for the VHP (Very Happy Person) program. I also followed the “Happiness Bus” around as it cheerfully toured the USA, spreading a little bit of happiness at every stop.

Recently, I received in the mail, unsolicited and free of charge, a cool little thank you package filled with these five goodies:

Since the care package contains a copy of the DH book signed by Mr. Happiness himself, Tony Hsieh, I’d like to try and return the favor by spreading a little happiness of my own. Therefore, I’ll send my unsigned copy gratis to the first person who indicates, via the comments section in this post, that they’d like to own it. Hell, I’ll even spring for the postage cost 🙂


December 31, 2010 5 comments

Whoo Hoo! I thought of a positive complement to my negative FOSTMA acronym. It’s, it’s, it’s….. NASHMA = Nayar, Semler, Hsieh MAnagement:

Of course, in order to prevent chaos, NASHMA orgs still have hierarchical structures, but they’re not run as stratified caste system CCHs. In NASHMA orgs, there’s real, two way accountability; and symmetric relationships exist up and down all levels. Most managers in NASHMA groups are PHORs and not STSJs who spend all their “valuable” time planning, watching, controlling, and evaluating.

Now mind you, to avoid the trap of dualistic thinking, an org shouldn’t be judged as fully belonging to one class or the other. There can be pockets of FOSTMA groups in a NASHMA org and vice versa. Nevertheless, my scientifically collected and analyzed data revealed this current distribution of institutions along the FOSTMA-NASHMA continuum:

Over time, hopefully the threshold will move to the left – increasing the currently miniscule NASHMA to FOSTMA ratio. However, there will always be powerful and scary psychological forces opposing the movement.

Zappos Rocks Again

August 28, 2010 Leave a comment

As a huge, huge, huge, (did I say youuuuuuuge-uh?),  fan of Tony Hsieh and, I blabber about them often. Zappos latest action to make the whole world, yes, the whole world, a better place is to offer up a free, yes free, download of the audio version of the best seller, yes best seller, book “Tribal Leadership“. The link is here, yes here.

Even though I’ve stalked for years, until recently I’ve never bought anything from them because I’m not a shoe or clothes dude. Hell, I’m an old and unredeemable person of questionable integrity and questionable character and questionable morality and questionable <<add your own trait here if you know me>>, so I renew these things about every 10 years or when they fall apart; whichever comes first. However, even with zero revenue from me, they upgraded me to VIP status. This means that with every order I place, they’ll guarantee free overnight shipping. WTF, you say? Uh, the only answer that I can give to you is: They’re fuckin’ dude, that”s why! Oops, I hope the F-bomb didn’t make you mad and send you to the altar to pray for me. If it did, then maybe you shouldn’t be wasting your time reading this blasphemous blog 🙂

Be Humble

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment’s core value number 10 is: “Be Humble“.  According to CEO Tony Hsieh via his book Delivering Happiness (DH), the “Be Humble” core value has probably had the most impact on hiring decisions at

There are a lot of experienced, smart, and talented people we interview that we know can make an immediate impact on our top or bottom line. But a lot of them are also egotistical, so we end up not hiring them. At most companies, the hiring manager would probably argue that we should hire such a candidate because he or she will add a lot of value to the company, which is probably why most large corporations don’t have great cultures.

So, how can you weed out the BOOGLs, CGHs, CBMs, SCOLs, and determine whether a candidate fits well with your culture? requires each candidate-for-hire to go through two sets of interviews: one with the hiring group to evaluate skills fit, and the other with the Human Resources (HR) group to determine cultural fit. It’s the latter that sets apart from the herd (moooo!). They ask questions specifically derived from their set of 10 core values.

So much for being humble myself. If I was, this blog wouldn’t be soaked with acronyms like BOOGLs, CGHs, CBMs, SCOLs, and other childish terms from the readme.txt page 🙂

Note: Tony et al will be starting a book tour in August and they will be traveling around in a souped up DH bus. You can follow the happiness on Twitter at dhbus and dhbook and ceo@zappos.

A Key Ingredient

As Tony Hsieh states in “Delivering Happiness“,

A key ingredient in strong (business) relationships is to develop emotional connections. – Tony Hsieh

In my fantasy world, I find this extremely ironic because, in “business”, most corpricracies only anoint those who can cleverly camouflage their emotions to exalted and coveted leadership positions. And yet, here is Mr. Chez, the CEO of a profitable billion dollar company in the cutthroat shoe retail industry, “nicely” flipping the finger at mainstream American business and the esteemed B-school advice they rode in on.

It’s funny how “passion”, which can be defined as a “strong emotion“, is demanded of the DICforce, but Spock-like emotional control is required by SCOLs and BOOGLs for ascension to the throne.

Much To Like

There’s much to like in CEO Tony Hsieh’s new book: “Delivering Happiness“. In addition to detailing the inspiring rags-to-riches story, Mr. “Chez” shares many nuggets of wisdom that he discovered along the way:

Don’t play games that you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money from them.

It doesn’t matter how flawlessly a business is executed if it’s in the wrong business or if it’s in too small of a market.

Without conscious and deliberate effort, inertia always wins.

The presentation of the truth is as important as the truth.

Never outsource your core competency. If we were trying to be about customer service, we knew that we shouldn’t be outsourcing that (call center).

Without a separation of work and life, it’s remarkable how values can be exactly the same.

Don’t measure call times, don’t force employees to upsell, and don’t use scripts.

A key ingredient in strong relationships is to develop emotional connections.

It’s not what you say or do, but how you make people feel that matters the most.

For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.

As it turns out, many of the best ideas came about while having drinks at a local bar.

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