Amazon LPs: Learn and Be Curious

Amazon’s Leadership Principles, or LPs help its employees hold themselves and each other accountable, through tangible and measurable qualities that guide and lead decision-making, with customers at the forefront. 

This article will focus on the principle of Learn and Be Curious

What is learn and be curious?

Amazon’s official quote for this principle is:

Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.

Amazon Leadership Principles

Both personally, and collectively as a team, launching products, learning is a continuous development and does not end when the project ends. Personally, you look at this LP as a way of always learning from experiments, observing an outcome based on inputs, and adjusting your control levers. This holds true collectively as a team as well, where Amazon has what we call mechanisms.

While I will dedicate a full article on mechanisms in the future, suffice to say akin to how agile works, mechanisms provide a framework for building products consisting of working backwards from the customer’s point of view (the ideal outcome we would publish in a press release), in order to keep focusing on what matters to the customer. This is what we at Amazon call, working backwards.

If you cannot explain what you are building in a way that prospective customers would embrace, then you probably don’t have a good justification for this idea.

Switching back to mechanisms, Amazon bakes into its DNA control mechanisms like the very effective and prominent, Correction of Error (COE). Correction of Error is a process for improving quality by documenting and addressing issues. You will want to define a standardized way to document critical root causes, and ensure they are reviewed and addressed.

  • What happened?
  • What was the impact on customers and your business?
  • What was the root cause?
  • What data do you have to support this?
  • What were the critical implications, especially security?
  • What lessons did you learn?
  • What corrective actions are you taking to prevent this from happening again?

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