What does the “Dive Deep” Amazon leadership principle mean?
I think of this principle as being on a continuum with the “Bias for Action” leadership principle.
When you’re doing something, you first need to figure out what you’re doing (research and think, aka diving deep) and then you need to do it (aka acting).
Many people will tend to get stuck on one end of the spectrum. Many people are great at performing research but slow to act, and others will jump into action too quickly without making a plan.
In order to be good at something, you need to be good at both making a plan and acting on it. So in an interview, you want to be able to answer the “Dive Deep” questions and also the “Bias for Action” questions well, so that you paint a picture of yourself as someone who can make a plan and act on it (I cover how to answer the “Bias to Action” questions in another article).
A good “Bias” story will have a research phase and a good “Dive Deep” story will end in action.
A good “Dive Deep” should preferably include data borne of research. Here is an article about types of data you can include in these stories.
Telling “Dive Deep” stories like this might be easy for you if you’re a details person, as many people who have technical jobs are. It may not be easy for you if you’re a generalist or a big picture person. I personally tend to dislike talking about details, because I prefer talking about ideas or strategy. If I were going into an interview, I would need to add details about how I followed through on ideas. If you’re a big picture person, pay particular attention to your “Dive Deep” stories. On the other hand, if you’re someone who routinely digs into details, these questions are unlikely to be difficult for you because you’re always looking at data.
Ex-Amazon employee and blogger Dave Anderson summarizes the principle this way:
“Trust yet verify” is a favorite phrase at Amazon. We care deeply that leaders keep a careful eye on what they own, and know ways to audit their space. If something doesn’t make sense, our leaders need to have the ability (and interest) to dive in and figure out what’s going on. I love when I ask questions of people, and they can go four or five levels deep, and keep getting more excited because the details are actually interesting to them.”
Note the emphasis here on not just digging into the details, but getting excited about those details when you talk about them. If you re asked to speak to this principle in your interview, it’s not enough to list details – you need to use those details to demonstrate your enthusiasm for owning or contributing to a project.
How many stories do I need to prepare for each leadership principle?
Most people say that you should have two examples for each principle. That’s a good benchmark, but what if you get asked four Dive Deep questions? Will you have enough stories to answer them all?
In the onsite interview the interviewers will divide the principles up and each take two or three, so in one interview you may have more than two questions about a principle. What will you do if that happens?
I suggest that you practice using some questions you’ve developed for other principles to answer the Dive Deep questions. I think it’s a better idea to have a group of answers you can tailor for the different principles depending on what you get asked than preparing two for each principle.
1 What are the different properties of MVC routes?
MVC routes are accountable for governing which controller method will be executed for a given URL. Thus, the URL comprises the following properties: