A Culture Based on Values: The Zappos Happiness Principles

A Culture Based on Values: The Zappos Happiness Principles

At the end of every year, Boone and I review the Core Values of CrossFit Austin.  Core values are the principles most companies use to guide decision making throughout the lifetime of the business. Sometimes these principles are set forth from day one, or, as in our case, the core values develop and evolve through experience. The online retailer Zappo’s has one of the most famous sets of Core Values of any modern company.  In the book “Delivering Happiness,” Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh breaks down how following their fundamental set of core values has created a thriving unique culture.

The 10 Zappos Core Values resonated with me, and like most good ideas I come across, I immediately thought about how they apply to CrossFit Austin.  So, today and in the following weeks I’ll be exploring how to apply what I call the “Zappos Happiness Principles” to our little gym in South Austin.  I’ve adapted the list slightly to fit CFA; if you’d like to check out the original list or, even better, read the book Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.

1. Attitude is everything.

Nothing trumps a great attitude. It’s number one on the list for a reason. If you can muster up a good attitude for a task, big or small, you can persevere regardless of how much adversity gets thrown your way. With a positive attitude channeled through perseverance, success is within your grasp 99% of the time.

2. Embrace and drive change.

Change is uncomfortable, but paramount  to growth. The world is constantly evolving – you can either spearhead that change in a positive fashion, embrace it with enthusiasm, or stand by idly comfortable with the status quo. CrossFit Austin prefers to spearhead evolution and we want you on board with us.

3. Create fun and a little weirdness.

This one is easy, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.  We always try to make our gym about  fun, which in turn gets a little weird, sometimes.  However the diverse group of personalities we work with every day makes this a slam dunk at CrossFit Austin.

4. Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded.

Try something new. Play a new sport, lift instead of run, run instead of lift, play instead of train, train instead of play. Look outside the box: sometimes success lies beyond the obvious choice.  Being adventurous and creative, which in turn means being open-minded, allows for discovery both intrinsically and extrinsically.

5. Make growth and learning an endless pursuit..

Goals and actions steeped in education are purpose driven. Understand what you want to accomplish, understand why you want to accomplish it, create a path to get there, and understand what constitutes success. This is a fool-proof formula for success.

6. Develop open, honest relationships grounded in communication.

Relationships are the foundation of happiness. Without relationships, there will always be something missing – whether it be life, work, family, or training.  The only way to build and/or strengthen relationships is through open, honest communication.  The resulting trust and faith in the relationship is powerful beyond measure.

7 . Build a positive team (and family) environment.

One thing that CrossFit and CrossFit Austin has made clear to me is that unified pursuits of like-minded goals drive people. It drives them beyond what they believe they can do.  This team spirit and commitment only works when you strive to build the people around you up. Negativity permeates everything around it and sucks the life out of the room.  Do your neighbor, and yourself, a favor by choosing to keep the energy in the room positive.

8.  Work Hard.

Like I’ve said before, there are very few things that will beat hard work.  If you’re committed to the first 7 items of this list and you approach it by working your butt off, there’s no stopping you.

9. Have passion and determination.

These are both incredible byproducts of hard work, good attitudes, and a commitment to fun. Just try not to be passionate and determined when you’re working hard and having fun doing it. That, my friends, is harder than any workout I, or anyone else, can throw at you.

10. Practice humility.

Humility comes when we decide that there is more to this journey than ourselves and our egos. Humility is not only a result of many of the actions listed above, it’s something that some people have organically. But, more importantly, humility can be developed over time through experience.  Humility is hands-down my favorite quality a person can possess.

Read this list a couple of times. I will be expanding on each item over the course of the next 10 weeks.  Ask yourself how you can apply these actions and traits, not only in the gym, but in everyday life.  The best thing about this list is it is not just something I see as a goal at CrossFit Austin, it’s a list of qualities that I see and love about everyone involved in our gym community. The principles clearly define what I love about our culture, and I’m hungry to experience this culture more with each and every one of you.