Amazon Leadership Principle - Think Big and Bias for action

Next Principle of Amazon is "Think Big" and "Bias for Action", while think big is pretty self-explanatory, 'bias for action might ring a bell in your mind as bias could be a rather questionable choice of words. However, as we know and as we have seen every principle conveys a message beyond the words mentioned and so is the case here. Let us look at each of these two ones by one

Think Big

This is about the attitude more than your skills, thinking big is an attitude, and seeing the challenges and thinking out of the box is what this principle stands by. Here is what Amazon means by 'Think Big'

"Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers."

Looking at the highlight

"They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers."

Customer service holds priority we got to know this in earlier principles as well. This principle also relies on supreme customer service. Thinking big means having a broad vision and looking beyond what is present in front. Look at the challenges, think of new ideas and methods, and not rely on the old traditional methods that do not serve the purpose anymore.

Question to expect

  • A time of a radical approach you proposed to solve a big problem.
  • A time when you took a big risk and it failed.


Answering with the STAR method


Our answers start with the situation we were in, we know that at this point. The questions here might themselves call for the STAR pattern. Notice the parts of the questions


The task in these questions is often confused by the action, keep in might the task is something that has to be done, and action is something we take to achieve the task. Do not get confused by these two terms here.


Next up we have results, in a few of the above questions, outcomes are asked directly, hence which makes accurate results even more important. Try to keep these results as positive as you can because you have to show yourself as an accurate risk taker, even if the question asked about your failure but end it on a good note, by talking about your learnings.

Bias for Action

Next, we have is Bias for Action, this principle talks about the gut taking action. Most of the time when you are facing a dead end it becomes difficult to think of a solution and act upon it even if you know that the decision could be risky. This is what this principle tests. Here is what Amazon says

“Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk-taking.”

Breaking it down we get

Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study

Decision-making requires a lot of background study, but in the face of uncertainty you do not have time to perform a proper analysis, you have to be quick with your brain. You need to have your presence of mind and we are prepared for the unexpected.

Questions to expect

  • A time where you've taken a calculated risk where speed was crucial
  • A time you made an important decision without consulting your manager
  • A time when you were able to remove serious roadblocks preventing progress


Answering with the STAR method


The time you took the risk in your situation, give details about how critical was the situation, how important was the involvement, and detail the chaos of the moment.


What were you expected to do? This is the main task around which the action and results revolve.


Here is the star of the show, this is the risky decision you took. Make sure to elaborate on everything in detail as this is what is asked of you. In general, terms, Be the Hero.


The outcome part of the question is your result, this is the crucial part of any answer and for the obvious reasons, in the interview, you are there to show the results of your actions.


And that covers two more Leadership Principles of Amazon, you can see how confusing these principles are at a glance but upon a little bit of simplification, they look easier to tackle. Practice these Principles and questions till we come back with more principles.