SquadGurus Leadership Principles

Published: July 26, 2021 | by John Treadway

SquadGurus Leadership Principles

By: John Treadway

I’m a big fan of AWS – have been since they launched in 2006. One of the keys to their success is a shared set of leadership principals – “LPs” – that all Amazonians learn and use every day in their job. If you’ve ever interviewed at AWS (I did a while back), you know that most of the interview is designed to test your alignment with their LPs.

We are working on our own set of LPs that build on AWS but also reflect other areas that are important to our founding team. Here is a draft list of our LPs for your consideration. Would love to get feedback on this!

  1. Customer Obsession – Amazon’s definition is great: Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.
  2. Ownership – Leaders are owners. Owner’s don’t waste their own money, and are hands-on and willing to do whatever is needed. They are frugal but not afraid to invest big when needed.
  3. Ethical & Worthy of Trust – Leaders do the right thing even when it’s hard or costly.
  4. Community and Social Change – Leaders invest in their communities by volunteering, supporting social justice causes, etc.
  5. Innovative – Leaders innovate and create at every turn. This applies to how we do things, how we serve clients, etc.
  6. Highest Standards – Leaders embody and insist on the highest standards for ourselves and others on the team.
  7. Agile and Lean – Leaders move fast, fail fast, etc. This incorporates bias for action, fail fast, experiment, etc. (and frugality again). Leaders know that perfect is the enemy of done and that getting something in the hands of customers quickly is far more important than only delivering a finished product.
  8. Talent Forward – Leaders focus on talent as a competitive advantage.  This includes hiring and developing the best, but also seeking to provide opportunities to those often overlooked who have the talent but maybe less access. We also mentor our team and provide responsibilities to stretch our people to grow.
  9. Think Big – Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.
  10. Are Right, A Lot – Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs. (Amazon definition)
  11. Advocate and Commit – Amazon calls this having a backbone. Leaders should have beliefs and be willing and free to advocate for them. Just going along without speaking up doesn’t help anybody. However, once a point is debated and a decision is made, everybody needs to get on board and make it happen.
  12. Fully Formed Adults – Leaders are not petty, mean or unable to deal with criticism or being challenged. They don’t bully others or lose their compsure. Leaders take accountability for their actions and mistakes and don’t blame others. Leaders give credit to others and don’t seek to put themselves forward. Leaders are “we” focused, not “me” focused. Leaders are professionals, not amateurs.


John Treadway

CEO SquadGurus

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