When I heard Tony Hsieh passed away last week from injuries suffered during a house fire I was saddened. I wanted to re-share this edited blog that I wrote on 2/25/2019 because Tony was not only an admired leader, he was also an innovator and idealist.

I am a fan of Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. The company I became obsessed with because I did not have to pay for shipping….in either direction. This changed my expectations of what online retailers could for me, the customer.

Beside helping to pioneering the free shipping concept Tony Hsieh also believes some pretty cool things like:
Company Culture comes first. “Our number one priority is company culture. Our whole belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff like delivering great customer service or building a long-term enduring brand will just happen naturally on its own.”

Customer Service and great customer experience are where it’s at. In fact, Zappos has a very limited marketing budget. You would never see them pay for a Super Bowl commercial. Instead they put the money back into improving the customer experience and believe the customers will be their marketing and sales team.

Tony believes in work-life integration vs. work-life balance. How you are at home and how you are at work should feel equally as comfortable to you. He hires people he would hang out with outside the office.

Zappos has core values that are built around Tony’s personal values and aligned with everything the company is and does. Total authenticity.

Being Resourceful is a Key Leadership Trait

Wait…There’s more. There is another story that I believe is a game-changer when it comes to being a better leader and creating a Career + Life you love.

The story I am referring to is from an interview Tony had with.  Success magazine years ago.

In this interview he made mention of how he does not, for example, solve problems that he is having with shipping, by just looking at what competitors were doing. He also looks OUTSIDE his industry to see what other companies with similar shipping problems are doing that are innovative and effective.

This reflects one of his favorite ideas: It is not necessarily a lack of resources that makes you unsuccessful as a leader but a lack of resourcefulness.

How You Can Become Resourceful In Your Career

Let’s look at how you can be resourceful when it comes to solving your most pressing Career + Life problems.

For Example:

Problem: Your career has reached a plateau.

Question: Who else has to deal with plateaus?

Answer: High-performing athletes.

Solution: There will always come a time in your career when you raise your head and realize that you have not made the progress you hoped. Like high performance athletes who make strong progress in their chosen sport… until they don’t. How do they solve this problem and how might their solutions apply to you and your career?

Here are some possibilities:

  • Vary Your “Workout” – We all get into ruts. When an athlete is in a rut they often change their workout routine – what muscles they strengthen, the time of day, who they workout with. How can you change your routine – where a suit to your virtual work, take a walk during the day, etc.
  • Hire a Coach – High-performing athletes will get an expert to help them gain new techniques and ideas, as well as having the coach hold them accountable. Maybe it is time to schedule a Career Strategy Session, or take a coding class.
  • Hydrate – Athletes drink their water. To be at your best it is important to keep self-care a priority in all areas – rest, food, water and connecting with others.
  • Stay positive – Athletes use positive self-talk to be more effective in their game. Having a positive mindset provides all kinds of benefits including: reduced stress, better health, stronger social life, and more fun at work.

Try This

Ask yourself what problem seems to be unsolvable. Then, take a look outside your current industry or circle of influence and see what others are doing to remove a similar roadblock with success.



How I Built This Interview with Guy Raz and Zappos’ founder Tony Hsieh