Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO delivers on its promise

Being in the service industry, I regularly read blogs about happenings in the business world. And every blue moon I get to read a good business book.

One book that I just finished reading is Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, written by CEO Tony Hsieh. The book chronicles Tony’s entrepreneurial journey from his first successful business where he sold mail-ordered button to the rise of and subsequent sale to Amazon. Throughout the book, Tony weaves in mini-lessons on what made things work (and what caused things to fail at times). Since the book is about delivering profits, passion, and purpose, I wanted to highlight a few lessons that struck a cord with me about running a business (or a team):

Lesson #1: Your business won’t survive without having positive cash flow.
It should come as no surprise that you cannot spend more than you collect. You may be able to float a few short periods of negative cash flow but in the long term your business must break even at the very least. To this point, learning to do more with less can help you stay in the black.

Lesson #2: Hire passionate people.
Building on lesson #1, cash helps you hire help. But when hiring, you must focus on your company’s culture! You may consider hiring talented individuals that bring new skills but unless they fit culturally (in other words, they’re looking to connect with your current employees on both a professional and personal level), you’ll see the negative impact of your decision on your culture, your customers and ultimately your business.

Lesson #3: Develop a shared company vision.
Again, building on lesson #2, it helps to hire passionate, like-minded, people. As the “tribe” leader, it is critical for you to organize employees so they cohesively work in support of your business goals. You’ll see amazing results when your employees work as a team and take risks to help the company reach/exceed its goals. But don’t forget the reward once your company reaches the goal. The absence of incentives, either tangible or intangible, will likely result in employees losing their drive over a period of time. Keep the passion burning by keeping your promise.

If you’re looking for a meaningful book about creating and managing a business with a purpose, then look no further than this book or check out the supporting blog.

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