Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh built a shoe empire worth billions of dollars and evolutionised workplace culture and employee empowerment. When he retired in early 2020, he moved into a trailer park with his two pet alpacas. Money was never his motivator.
Regrettably, Tony passed away on Friday due to injuries sustained in a house fire. The world has "lost a tremendous visionary." Tony also wrote the best seller, Delivering Happiness: A Path To Profits, Passion, and Purpose, which set out his philosophy for life, of caring for employees and delivering happiness to others.
Tony's teaching has had a profound affect on how we work at TGC. As a result, we'd like to share with you ten quotes from Tony, which we hope will motivate and inspire you in whatever brings you happiness.
1. Your job should make you want to get out of bed.
"I made a list of the happiest periods in my life, and I realized that none of them involved money. I realized that building stuff and being creative and inventive made me happy. Connecting with a friend and talking through the entire night until the sun rose made me happy. Trick-or-treating in middle school with a group of my closest friends made me happy. Pickles made me happy."
“Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you’re trying to do more than just make money.”
2. Happiness is about connectedness and purpose.
“Happiness is really just about four things: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness (number and depth of your relationships), and vision/meaning (being part of something bigger than yourself).”
"When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny."
3. Learn from others who have done it before.
"Continual learning. Educate yourself. Read books and learn from others who have done it before. Learn by doing. Theory is nice, but nothing replaces actual experience. Learn by surrounding yourself with talented people."
4. For individuals, character is destiny. For organisations, culture is destiny.
“Your personal core values define who you are, and a company’s core values ultimately define the company’s character and brand. For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.”
“Our belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff, like great customer service or building a great long-term brand or empowering passionate employees and customers will happen on its own.”
5. Open, honest communication is the foundation of all relationships.
“Open, honest communication is the best foundation for any relationship, but remember that at the end of the day it’s not what you say or what you do, but how you make people feel that matters the most.”
6. Make your day just 1% better than it was yesterday.
“It’s important to constantly challenge and stretch yourself, and not be stuck in a job where you don’t feel like you are growing or learning.”
“Wake up every day and ask yourself not only what is the 1% improvement I can change to make Zappos better, but also what is the 1% improvement I can change to make myself better personally and professionally. In the end we, as Zappos, can’t grow unless we, as individuals, grow too.”
7. Network with people who are authentic and are interested in you.
“I’ve found that it’s more interesting to build relationships with people that are “not” in the business world because they always can offer unique perspectives and insights, and also because those relationship tend to be more genuine.”
8. Chase the passion, not the money.
“The problem when someone feels burned out, bored, unchallenged, or stifled by their work is not the job itself but rather the environment and playground rules given to them to do the job at hand.”
“Without conscious and deliberate effort, inertia always wins”
“I had decided to stop chasing the money, and start chasing the passion.”
“We asked ourselves what we wanted this company to stand for. We didn't want to just sell shoes. I wasn't even into shoes—but I was passionate about customer service."
9. Empower people around you, and they will give you their best.
“I believe that there’s something interesting about anyone and everyone—you just have to figure out what that something is.”
“I think when people say they dread going into work on Monday morning, it’s because they know they are leaving a piece of themselves at home. Why not see what happens when you challenge your employees to bring all of their talents to their job and reward them not for doing it just like everyone else, but for pushing the envelope, being adventurous, creative, and open-minded, and trying new things?”
10. Your future is a clean sheet, you write the next page.
“No matter what your past has been, you have a spotless future.”