Case Analysis: Zappos: They Do It withHumorZappos.com is an American onlineshoe and clothing retailer based in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. Thecompany was founded in 1999 by Nick Swinmurn and launched under the domain nameShoesite.com. In July 2009, Amazon acquired Zappos in an all-stock deal wortharound $1.2 billion at the time.If you are not familiar with this retail store, visit theirwebsite https://www.zappos.com/ (Links to an external site.)After reading case 14 ( I’ll add after quastion list) answer the following questions:1. What leadership traits andstyle does Tony Hsieh demonstrate at Zappos? What aspects of his leadership canyou criticize, if any? Is his successful leadership approach transferable toother leaders and other organizations, or is it person and situation specific?2. Can you find examples ofwhere House’s path-goal theory of leadership can be confirmed or disconfirmedin the Zappos setting? Explain your answer.3. ProblemSolving . Tony Hsieh is a big thinker, and Zappos isclearly his baby. But he’s also into philanthropy and community developmentactivities that are taking up more of his time. Perhaps he’ll come up withother new business ideas as well. As a leadership coach, what steps would yourecommend that he take now to ensure that his leadership style and vision liveson at Zappos long after his departure? What can a strong and secure leader likeHsieh do to ensure a positive leadership legacy?4. FurtherResearch. Check the latest on Zappos and Tony Hsieh. Howand what are each doing at the present time. Do some research to compare andcontrast the leadership style and characteristics of Tony Hsieh with those ofhis boss at Amazon, Jeff Bezos. How are the leadership styles of the two CEOsalike? In what ways do they differ? For whom would you rather work? Is onebetter than the other in its situational context?Case 14 Zappos – They Do It withHumorZappos.com customers are known forfierce loyalty, and it’s easy to see why. CEO Tony Hsieh has built abillion-dollar business by providing happiness to customers and employees. Evenfellow businesspeople get happy while seeking to learn more about Zappos’sunique blend of humor, compassion, and high-quality customer service. How doesZappos do it?When Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh was thefeatured guest on The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert grilled him aboutZappos’s phenomenal success and rabid customer loyalty. Hsieh replied that it’sZappos’s goal to deliver “WOW” in every shoe or clothing box. Today, thecompany is consistently ranked highly as one of Fortune’s “Best Companiesto Work For.?Unusual Leader, Unusual EmployerZappos.com was launched in 1999 asthe brainchild of Hsieh and founder Nick Swinmurn. Within just a few years, theLas Vegas-based firm caught the eye of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. He liked what hesaw so much that he bought the firm for Amazon’s business stable, pledging notto interfere with Hsieh and Zappos’s unique way of doing business.The blog search engine Land calledZappos “the poster child for how to connect with customers online.”And under Amazon, Zappos has maintained its focus. The company’s relentlesspursuit of the ultimate customer experience is the stuff of legend. Zapposoffers extremely fast shipping at no cost and will cover the return shipping ifyou are dissatisfied for any reason at any time, For Hsieh, the Zappos brand isless about a particular type of product and more about providing good customerservice. He has said, “We could be in any industry that we candifferentiate ourselves through better customer service and better customerexperience.”3 He has even ventured that he could see the Zappos name onthings as large as airlines or hotels, as long as the service was up to hisexacting standards.A Culture to Thrive InZappos’s success comes down to thecompany’s culture and the unusual amount of openness Hsieh encourages amongemployees, vendors, and other businesses. “If we get the cultureright,” he says, “most of the other stuff, like the brand and thecustomer service will just happen. … We want the culture to grow stronger andstronger as we grow.”Named “The Smartest Dude inTown” by business magazine Vegas Inc., Hsieh believes employees have to befree to be themselves.That means no call times or scripts forcustomer service representatives, regular costume parties, and parades anddecorations in each department. Customer service reps are given a lot of leewayto make sure every customer is an enthusiastic customer.Sharing the FunHsieh believes so strongly in theZappos culture that he’s on a mission to share it with anyone who will listen.In a program called Zappos Insights, “Company Evangelists” lead tourgroups of 20 around the Las Vegas head- quarters. Office cubicles oftenoverflow with kitschy action figures and brightly colored balloons, givingparticipants a glimpse of a workplace that prizes individuality and fun as muchas satisfied customers. Staffers blow horns and ring cowbells to greetparticipants in the 16 weekly tours, and each department tries to offer a moreoutlandish welcome than the last. “The original idea was to add a littlefun,” Hsieh says, but it grew into a friendly competition “as thenext aisle said, “We can do it better?”The tours are free, but manyvisitors actually come for paid one. and two-day seminars that immerseparticipants in the Zappos culture. Want to learn how to recruit employees whoare committed to your company culture? You’ll get face time with Zappos HRstaff. Yearn to learn what keeps customers coming back? Ask their CustomerLoyalty Team. Hungry for a home-cooked meal? The capstone of the two- day bootcamp is dinner at Tony Hsieh’s house, with ample time to talk customer servicewith the CEO himself,Those who want to learn Zappos’ssecrets without venturing to LasVegas can subscribe to amembers-only community that grants access to video interviews and chats withZappos management. Ask nicely, and the company will send you a free copy oftheir Zappos Family Culture Book, an annual compilation of every employee’sideas about Zappos’s mission and core values. Hsieh has his own tome, too –Delivering Happiness.Zappos’s Next ActSo, what comes next? As Zappos growswithin the Amazon umbrella, which is constantly growing as well, and as Hsiehdevotes more time to community service and his writing and speakingengagements, can the Zappos culture survive growth and a possible leadershiptransition?Will Zappos continue to remainprosperous and keep its reputation as a great employer? Is Hsieh’s unique brandof leadership so built into the firm’s practices that Zappos will stay the sameeven under a new CEO?
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