Bias for Action

Sandra Burns

Leadership Principle Worksheet 

This worksheet was designed to share how I align my experience with Amazon’s Leadership Principles. I’ve written down a couple of detailed examples from my experience that relate to each of Amazon’s Leadership Principles. Enjoy! Sandra Burns

Bias for Action: Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.


In my personal life: I’ve made fast decisions from the time I was sliding on ice in a car to maneuver my car to safety to jumping in a pool fully clothed at a birthday pool party when it looked like my daughter was struggling to swim.

In business, I would offer these examples:


Example 1:  

Situation: After the Scottsdale Satelite office closed I had to make a decision, take the BDM job in San Francisco or the package.

Task: I had to decide when my boss offered me 2 options: The BDM job in San Francisco or the package.

Action: After considering I would have to move, if I even found a home in San Francisco as at that time you had to win the option to buy a home in lottery as one of my counterparts experienced. Then, I had to consider moving my 7 year old daughter out of school and into a new school. With me traveling 50% of the time and Adobe re-organizing every 6 months, I didn’t see the point in all these upheavals in our life. 

Result: So, I boldly took the package, which included my stock options and I started my own Adobe Training business that turned out I worked successfully for 14 years listed on the Adobe website as an ACTP (Adobe Certified Training Provider)


Example 2: 

Situation: The paradigm changed in Instructor Led Training, either shut down or pivot.

Task: How to save my business I developed over 10 years from demise.

Action: I quickly recognized online training was growing. I got up to speed on software and how to put my own training online via first thought my own website, then building a membership site, then creating an LMS system.

Result: I learned new software to put training online, I learned about LMS systems and the difference between those and website and membership sites. I saved my business by pivoting to online from ILT. I also learned how to do this for others or to work for companies that need instructional design.


Example 3:

Situation: Schwab fired 600 people just prior to COVID when I first joined as a Sr ID contractor. I watched as people packed their desks, even the 2 bosses that hired me who worked there over 10 years with multiple series licenses. My fear was I made the wrong decision to work for this company at this time especially being a lowly Sr ID contractor.

Task: To quickly find out who I might report to, will I be effective, what did they need from me, how could I prove myself.

Action: It turned out my boss’s boss the director would now be my boss and 1 other ID hired at the same time. He said I would not be affected at this time (at least until later when COVID or CCPA was done) I worked quickly on whatever he wanted, which resulted in him piling up more projects while my male counterpart had 1 small project. I didn’t complain as he commented you are faster. 

Result: My boss entrusted me with a big project CCPA data rights, a law that would be enforced June 2019. I would be on calls with 80 people at times, hearing the direction and actually building the training while sharing my screen with thoughts and edits real time, many times revisiting what was decided. In the end, I pulled it together with a high profile legal person at Schwab who asked me to call him. We knocked out in a call what could be said and what couldn’t, it was amazing as no one could challenge him. It taught me to find who are the real decision makers, influencers or people with the true product knowledge and filter out the noise.