Delivery Happiness, Forever

Tony Hsieh’s passing is a sad day for those who study, admire and practice leadership. He was quiet, humble, unassuming, kind, generous, billionaire, philanthropist, and had changed the world with Happiness as a business model. 

I first read about Tony in a Wikipedia entry about Zappos in the mid-2000s. Later in 2010, his book “Delivering Happiness,” gave me a more in-depth perspective into his leadership style, which heavily influenced the way I’ve led myself and my organizations since. 

His work also inspired me to read, study, and experiment (unsuccessfully) with “Holacracy,” a decentralized management and organizational governance method. I still believe it’s a beautiful concept for small organizations though I sucked at implementing it*. 

Tony was people-centric. He believed in the power of having core values that everyone in the company resonates with. Developing people and treat them with empathy was a big part of Zappos’ culture under his leadership. 

Tanveer Naseer wrote a beautiful post as a homage to Tony that you must read. It lists the three personal leadership lessons that he learned from Tony that can influence how you lead and see things. Here you go: 

1. Never underestimate the power of a simple gesture: Every conversation you have with your employees is an opportunity to share a simple gesture to let them know you care about them and their success

2. Your words do matter. It’s not how much you speak to your employees; it’s what you’re telling them when you talk that matters

3. Be humble and be generous. The best leaders recognize that everyone has something meaningful to contribute, no matter how small their sphere of influence. Even in those small encounters we have with those around us, there is an opportunity to inspire, to empower, and make people believe in their potential to be more 

Though much has been said about his mental health and addictions, the world will always remember him as someone who changed the way people think about service excellence and Happiness at the workplace. That’s the kind of legacy only a few entrepreneurs can even dream of. 

Rest in peace, Tony. 

It’s in the parking lot, for now, might pick it up one of these years. *Check out the following posts about Tony and the legacy that he’s left behind

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