When Zappos founder Tony Hsieh passed away tragically last November at age 46, he left an indelible mark on the business world. Now, some of Hsieh’s friends and colleagues are honoring his legacy with a new award program in his name.
The Tony Hsieh Award aims to recognize individuals who embody Hsieh’s spirit in business through transforming their “organization’s quality of work and life, engagement and productivity to allow members or employees to maximize their fullest potential.”
Before selling Zappos to Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion, Hsieh was known for having adopted a holocracy management structure — a decentralized system that allows employees to have more input into the decision-making process than a standard hierarchy. He also made sure his employees received generous benefits and perks, such as comprehensive health care, nap pods, and even pet adoption reimbursement.
Award applications will be evaluated using criteria including innovation, authenticity, ability to scale, replicability, and proof of better outcomes. The deadline to apply for the award is July 16, 2021, and the winner will be announced at the TED Monterey conference during the first week of August. The award recipient will be awarded a seat at the 2022 TED conference in Vancouver, Canada during the second week of April.
Three finalists will also be identified, and the applications of runner-ups will be featured on the award website. “Tony was willing to evangelize his experiments and ideas, sharing them not only for purely commercial reasons but for human good and elevating business consciousness,” says serial entrepreneur and leadership coach Keith Ferrazzi, whose coaching firm, Ferrazzi Greenlight, helped create the award. “We couldn’t let that pass with his passing, and it’s our dream that when these entrepreneurs who are similarly committed to the elevation of humans in the workplace are featured through their applications, they can continue the dialogue that Tony stood for.”
Additional organizers of the award include venture capitalist and former Zappos chairman Alfred Lin, and former Zappos executive Fred Mossler. The organizers hope to name winners of the award on an annual basis.