Respect for People at eBay

And now, for another example of a company embracing the lean principle of respect for people, we turn to… eBay.

            An online auction site may not be the first company you think of when it comes to lean. But Pete Abilla argues that you should.

            A lean believer, Abilla writes the Shmula blog. He also just started working at eBay a few weeks ago.

            In the blog, he describes eBay’s values, which he contends embody respect for people:

            One area that is perhaps unheralded and not known by many people are the eBay values. Below are the eBay Values:

  1. We believe people are basically good.
  2. We recognize and respect everyone as a unique individual.
  3. We believe everyone has something to contribute.
  4. We encourage people to treat others the way we want to be treated.
  5. We believe that an honest, open environment can bring out the best in people.

Below are the companion to the above values — the eBay Behaviors:

  1. Lead Completely
  2. Practice Judgment
  3. Trust Each Other
  4. Keep it Human

The eBay Values and eBay Behaviors above are absolutely astounding to me. Not only are the above items on my lanyard next to my picture badge, but I see the behaviors and experience the values in the people at eBay. It’s really very cool. The eBay Values are not just rote statements and the behaviors are not just empty slogans, but they are truly practiced by the people at eBay. Also, the values and behaviors above are also encouraged within the much larger eBay community — both buyers and sellers. This, to me, is almost magical to see. Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, was not only bohemian in his approach to founding eBay, but ultimately he was visionary and also incredibly community and customer focused.

            I’m not familiar with whether eBay is actively involved in deploying lean strategies and techniques. But if they’re not, I’m sure they soon will be with Abilla on board, since lean is an important part of his background. In addition, he mentioned in the blog that he is looking for a manager of process improvement.

            By the way, eBay CEO Meg Whitman was recently featured on the cover of Forbes, which described her as successful, ethical, and a good value for the money she is paid. We could use more companies like eBay.



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