Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace

On Monday mornings, fresh recruits line up for an orientation intended to catapult them into Amazon’s singular way of working.They are told to forget the “poor habits” they learned at previous jobs, one employee recalled. When they “hit the wall” from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution: “Climb the wall,” others reported. To be the best Amazonians they can be, they should be guided by the leadership principles, 14 rules inscribed on handy laminated cards. When quizzed days later, those with perfect scores earn a virtual award proclaiming, “I’m Peculiar” — the company’s proud phrase for overturning workplace conventions.At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)
www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/technology/inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.htmlAlso see:Jeff Bezos Says Amazon Won’t Tolerate ‘Callous’ Management Practices
For 20 years, Amazon has reveled in its toughness. “Work hard” are the first two words of a company motto. An oft-repeated line from Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive, calls the company culture “friendly and intense, but if push comes to shove we’ll settle for intense.”That uncompromising attitude played a large role in building a retail powerhouse with a market capitalization of $250 billion. But now Amazon is taking issue with a depiction that its culture is all-toughness-all-the-time for many of its workers, and says it wants to tamp down on excesses that have left many bruised employees in its wake.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/18/technology/amazon-bezos-workplace-management-practices.html

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