How Zappos' Founder Tony Hsieh Built a Legendary Culture That Encourages Innovation

Learning Centre > How Zappos' Founder Tony Hsieh Built a Legendary Culture That Encourages Innovation

What separates the truly creative minds from everyone else? It lies in company culture. Tony Hsieh, the founder of online shoe retailer Zappos, understood this.

What separates the truly creative minds from everyone else? It lies in company culture. Tony Hsieh, the founder of online shoe retailer Zappos, understood this.What separates the truly creative minds from everyone else? It lies in company culture. Tony Hsieh, the founder of online shoe retailer Zappos, understood this.

Most people believe that in order to be creative, you have to be intelligent. However, research shows that this is not the case. In fact, once you reach an I.Q. of around 120 (which is just a little above average), intelligence and creativity are no longer related. This means that even if you are not as smart as most people, you can still be very creative.

So what then separates the truly creative minds from everyone else?

One answer lies in company culture. The late Tony Hsieh, the founder of online shoe retailer Zappos, understood this better than anyone. In fact, his unique company culture is one of the main reasons why Zappos has been so successful.

What is Culture?

Before we can understand how Tony Hsieh's culture fosters creativity, we first need to define what culture is. Simply put, culture is the collection of shared values and beliefs that a group of people hold. It's what defines a group of individuals as being different from other groups.

For example, the culture of a country like the United States is different from the culture of a country like Japan. This is because each country has its own unique set of values and beliefs.

The same is true for companies. Every company has its own culture, which is defined by the values and beliefs of its employees.

This is why Tony Hsieh's culture at Zappos is so different from the cultures of other companies. It's also why Zappos has been so successful.

So how did Tony Hsieh create such a legendary culture at Zappos?

There are three primary factors:

  1. Tony focused on creating a culture of happiness and fun
  2. Tony focused on hiring the right people
  3. Tony created a culture of customer service

Factor 1: A Culture of Happiness and Fun

When Tony Hsieh first started Zappos, he made it a priority to create a culture of happiness and fun. This was in stark contrast to the traditional corporate culture where people are focused on making money and climbing the corporate ladder.

Hsieh believed that if his employees were happy and having fun, they would be more creative and productive. And this turned out to be true.

In fact, a study by the University of Warwick found that happiness leads to a 12% increase in productivity. So it's no wonder that Tony Hsieh's focus on creating a happy culture at Zappos led to such success.

Factor 2: Hiring the Right People

Tony Hsieh understood that in order to create a successful culture, he needed to hire the right people. He didn't just look for people with the right skillset. He also looked for people who shared his values and beliefs.

This is why Hsieh put such an emphasis on culture fit when hiring new employees. He wanted to make sure that everyone who worked at Zappos shared the same values and beliefs.

Only by hiring the right people can you create a culture of happiness and fun. And only by creating a culture of happiness and fun can you foster creativity and innovation.

Factor 3: A Culture of Customer Service

Tony Hsieh also created a culture of customer service at Zappos. He believed that if his employees were focused on providing the best possible experience for customers, they would be more creative and productive.

And once again, he was right.

A study by the Harvard Business Review found that companies that focus on customer service are more likely to be innovative and creative. This is because they are always trying to find new and better ways to serve their customers.

Tony Hsieh's culture at Zappos has been a major factor in its success. By focusing on creating a culture of happiness and fun, hiring the right people, and creating a culture of customer service, Tony Hsieh has been able to create one of the most successful companies in the world.

Key Takeways

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