'Bring skeptics into the room': Amazon Alexa exec's ideas for IT leadership, culture & women in tech

Toni Reid, vice president of Amazon Alexa experience and Echo devices, outlined her outlook on managing innovative teams, women in technology and the company's hiring strategy in an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Four things to know:

1. To outsiders, Amazon's culture has earned a reputation as "fiercely competitive" but Ms. Reid said it's attractive because it's fast-paced and gives builders the space to build. "There's been a lot of history made here over the past couple decades," she said. "You can actually reinvent yourself in a lot of different ways because of the diversity of businesses that we're in."

2. She noted the importance of staying balanced when managing people, and cautioned against taking leadership principles or guiding rules too far. Ms. Reid makes sure to seek balance in her approach to leadership and culture. "Bring skeptics into the room to validate your believers or disconfirm your own beliefs," she said. "When teams don't do that, they get more narrow-minded in their approach."

3. When considering the low percentage of women in leadership roles for big tech companies, Ms. Reid noted the variety of ways women can have careers in tech, including industrial design, voice design and other experts to build products.

4. Ms. Reid highlighted risk-taking as an important element to her career. She stepped away from a leadership role to take a smaller role in product development with Dash Wand, which was part of Amazon Fresh. It was very experimental," she said. "That role, interestingly enough, is what led me to my current job."

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