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Amazon's Learning Environment

Philip Green
Former CFO at Deliveroo & Finance Director, EMEA, Amazon

Learning outcomes

  • The role of feedback
  • The importance of making employees feel safe
  • The importance of patience in developing people
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Executive Bio

Philip Green

Former CFO at Deliveroo & Finance Director, EMEA, Amazon

Philip Green spent almost eight years at Amazon, culminating with the role of Finance Director of EU operations. He then took on the role of CFO at Groupon, followed by the role of CFO of Deliveroo. He currently is Director and CFO of theatre and entertainment producer Jamie Hendry Productions, as well as CFO of robotics and AR gaming business Reach Robotics, and advisor to several high-tech digital start-ups.Read more

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Interview Transcript

What role did [Amazon’s leadership] principles play in creating [a learning] environment?

I think the deciding point is feedback. Amazon was super-interesting. It was the first interview I’d ever been to where I was interviewed by people who were going to be on my team, which was very surprising for me. I’ve normally gone through interview processes where it was only either your boss or peer-set that was going to be interviewing you.

That’s important. People don’t immediately respect you because you got the job; you have to earn that respect. The principle of setting that framework of the right cultures and behaviours, but also, everything then aligned around, “Are those behaviours something you’re doing every single day?” Liverpool FC is having an amazing season — which is crushing me as a [Manchester] United fan. They lost their first game at the weekend, and I was just reading an article where Klopp said he couldn’t go in and be angry at the players because he’d be an idiot. They’ve had a phenomenal season so far, and one game doesn’t mean he doesn’t trust them anymore. They’ve just had an off day.

He said, “It wasn’t me coming out of that meeting feeling better and just shouting at them. It’s me walking out of the meeting, recognising the brilliance they’ve done and the fact I still trust them. You go back to a level-five leader, the humility. It’s not about him; it’s about the team. That article is a great example of leadership. People on your team will have bad days, bad moments, but it’s picking up on those consistent things they’re doing and saying you can course-correct them. Leadership is also patience. You can’t flip somebody’s behaviour in a day, but you can if you continually give them feedback, help them, encourage them, and make them feel safe.

Safety is the first thing. People will do better if they feel safe. That is the first job of a leader.

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