For years, General Electric was the breeding ground for corporate America’s managers, particularly CEOs. The executives who proved themselves in the ranks of GE often went on to serve as CEOs in their own large corporations.
Now that we’re in the “Big Tech” era, Amazon has become the incubator for CEOs and entrepreneurs (ref WSJ) who go out from that culture to lead or start up other firms. The Amazon culture embodies a “scrappy” mentality that encourages employees to constantly innovate and challenge the way things are typically done. But it’s said that those leaving the ranks of the company are leaving behind one element of the company, that is, the “harsher parts” of the culture, like the hiring practices that focus on skills over collegiality. Frankly, I’d say that that practice is among those that have made Amazon what they are – No. One by a large range of measures, including financial indications as well as the Drucker Institute’s Management 250 rankings. Regardless, those who are former-Amazonians now head companies like Tableau Software, Zulily Inc., Groupon Inc, and Simple as well as numerous start-ups. It’s said that Amazon’s “whole culture is so entrepreneurial, efficient, get-things-done,” and Bezos himself is the ring-master, saying, “It’s always Day One at Amazon.”
When Jack Welch headed GE, his progeny went on to head at least a dozen large companies and GE’s employee base was a favorite mining ground for executive recruiters. Today, the same is true for Amazon where the former execs have ascribed to the leadership principles that Bezos introduced in 2002. Interestingly, the Amazon leadership team is long-tenured, with many nearing 20-year anniversaries with the firm. But, for those who leave to do other entrepreneurial involvements, the firm couldn’t be happier for them – “we’re proud that they’re going out into the world and building great things,” (ref WSJ).