Niraj Shah (Wayfair.com) in “The Corner Office”
Adam Bryant conducts interviews of senior-level executives that appear in his “Corner Office” column each week in the SundayBusiness section of The New York Times. Here are a few insights provided during an interview of Niraj Shah, co-founder and C.E.O. of Wayfair.com, a seller of home furnishings, says it has a place where anyone can post praise of others’ accomplishments.
To read the complete interview as well as Bryant’s interviews of other executives, please click here.
Photo Credit: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times
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Bryant: What are some important leadership lessons you’ve learned?
Shah: One thing I’ve learned over time is that it’s important to take a minute and celebrate a win before you move on to the next thing you want to accomplish.
One of our values at Wayfair is that we are never done. That speaks to the idea of being tenacious — there is good, but you can do it even better. But you have to celebrate wins and let everyone who worked hard on something know that they were successful and that you’re proud of the team. When I was younger, I would just skip right over that. But now I understand that recognition is very important.
Bryant: You’ve started three companies. What did you do differently in terms of culture with each one?
Shah: When we started our first company, we didn’t really have a notion of what company culture was and how it mattered. We basically were figuring things out as we went along. As we grew, people were getting private offices and cubicles. But then you realize that people don’t have a good feel for what’s going on, and people weren’t really talking with their colleagues. All of a sudden we were in a place we just didn’t like.
When we started this company, one thing we decided early on was that we were never going to have offices. The culture here is about transparency, access to information, open collaboration.
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Adam Bryant, deputy national editor of The New York Times, oversees coverage of education issues, military affairs, law, and works with reporters in many of the Times‘ domestic bureaus. He also conducts interviews with CEOs and other leaders for Corner Office, a weekly feature in the SundayBusiness section and on nytimes.com that he started in March 2009. In his book, The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed, (Times Books), he analyzes the broader lessons that emerge from his interviews with more than 70 leaders. To read an excerpt, please click here. To contact him, please click here.