On Culture (in the Loo)
Our colleague, Phoebe Espiritu pointed us to this interview with the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh (conducted in a bathroom, no less). The interview is close to 20 minutes long, but it's worth your time. Zappos is famous for its extraordinary customer service (their call center doesn't use scripts and they train for generosity), but according to Hsieh, "Customer service is not our No. 1 priority, our No. 1 priority is company culture." (Sound familiar?)
Each year, Zappos publishes a book about their culture, written, unedited, by their employees. They're not just talking about how much fun they have planning parades; this video description of the book includes employees talking about the level of empowerment they feel.
This may sound touchy-feely, but their gross sales in 2008 were over a billion dollars. How? Hsieh says they're not trying to maximize every transaction, they're trying to build life-long relationships.