I was fortunate enough to get a tour of Zappos months ago. (Prior to the sale to Amazon) There has been a great deal of media discussion on the Zappos values and their focus on customer service that drove their business to grow very quickly to almost a billion dollars in revenue. Most of which I agree with. They do have a fantastic culture and amazing customer service.
This post is going to talk about something a little different. A small part of the tour that really struck a chord with me. The part of the tour I am talking about is just inside the front entrance: Their library.
I was blown away when the receptionist told me the story of how Tony Hsieh created a library of business books that he read so that others could “borrow” them to increase their own knowledge. I was even more astounded when she said: “Pick a couple that you like and take them with you.”
What a simple but powerful idea!
I strongly believe in the power of learning. In fact, 20 years ago, one of my own personal development goals was to read at least 26 books per year…..a goal that I have achieved for over 20 years. I believe that this drive to learn is a key part of my own success, and because of that, it is one of our values at BuildDirect. We state the value as: A Passion To Get Better Every Day, and we measure ourselves by asking the following question: Are we better today, than we were yesterday?
In a company: Success is driven by the collective knowledge, execution and alignment of its employees. Providing then, a good way for employees to learn and advance is a great way of developing employees success and therefore, success at the company. I like to look at it like this: By creating success for others I am able to stand on the shoulders of great people.
We just created our own BuildDirect library for our staff. Started with some of the best business books I have read. My hope is that it is used extensively.
Thanks to Zappos for the great idea to help foster a culture of learning………and for the book “Peak – How Great Companies get their Mojo from Maslow” by Chip Conley.