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Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Shares His Business Priority, What’s Yours?

Multitasking is no longer the best way to succeed in business, especially when it comes to setting business priorities. Studies indicate that multitasking can actually reduce productivity by...

Multitasking is no longer the best way to succeed in business, especially when it comes to setting business priorities. Studies indicate that multitasking can actually reduce productivity by approximately 40-percent. Yet, if you’re like most time-crunched entrepreneurs and can’t avoid being pulled in ten different directions, the best solution may be to become single-minded about your purpose. Because when you have ‘everything to do’ and ‘not enough time,’ a focused state of mind is your most loyal ally.

Business Priorities

Just ask Tony Hsieh, the Zappos Co-Founder and CEO that’s bent on delivering happiness. In a recent interview, the 36 year-old Hsieh noted that company culture is what matters most to him. “Our number one priority is actually company culture,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. “Every candidate goes through two sets of interviews – one for technical ability and one for cultural fit. We’ve passed on a lot of smart people if they are bad for our culture.”

The culture Hsieh speaks of rests in his company’s core values, ranging from “Create fun and a little weirdness” and “Do more with less” to “Be humble.” Hsieh believes in his company values so much that he’ll pay new hires $4,000 to quit after completing their standard five-week training program. “We’ll pay you to quit and leave the company right now,” says Hsieh. “We want employees who really believe in the long-term vision of the company.”

The Associated Risk Factor

While every small business owner may not have the cash on hand to back up their business priority in this way, it begs the question: What takes precedence in your small business? And do you believe in “it” enough to take a risk?

The risk could be tangible (i.e. cash incentives to quit if new hires don’t believe in the vision) or intangible, represented by a definitive or contrary stance that pushes against the norm.

Betting on what matters most to Hsieh is a gamble that has paid off tremendously for the young entrepreneur. It could be said that his focus on company values has impacted more than the people that work for the online shoe and apparel shop, reportedly worth one billion dollars (2009).  Just ask satisfied customers that can purchase “10 pairs of shoes online, try them all on and send nine back.” According to Hsieh, “This is accepted, no questions asked,” he told the Herald.”

The company’s loyalty business model and relationship marketing focus coupled with Hsieh’s unrelenting vision are key drivers behind the rapid growth, repeat customers (75%) and numerous word of mouth recommendations. The proof lies in the results; Hsieh’s vision is not just “lip service.”

So, the next time you find yourself wrestling with a hodgepodge of priorities, take a page from Tony Hsieh’s playbook and focus. Simplicity may be your path to happiness.

 

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