The new book about Netflix’s culture of reinvention is superb, in my opinions. Its full title is: “No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention” by Reed Hastings (CEO) and Erin Meyer.
The book shares how Netflix has built a culture of reinvention, whereby making it one of the leaders in the creative business.
This book contains many things that are, well, to use Netflix’s lingo, “stunning”.
Its culture also has many aspects that I’d say “counter culture” to those from an Asian culture (like me). Hence many of its operating philosophies are not easily applied or practical everywhere.
In spite of this, I find the book extremely valuable in learning about culture building, people vs process, especially for those working in industries that demand constant innovations.
This book has helped me understand more deeply the effect of culture on long-term success of companies, probably much more than what I’ve said in my previous post about “What you do is who you are”.
Below are some of my personal quotes about Netflix’s thinking about giving and receiving feedback:
Brian, the day you find yourself sitting on your feedback because you’re worried you’ll be unpopular is the day you’ll need to leave Netflix. We hire you for your opinions. Every person in that room is responsible for telling me frankly what they think.
The book also shares the 4A formula used by Netflix to give & receive feedback.
DON’T SEEK TO PLEASE YOUR BOSS. SEEK TO DO WHAT IS BEST FOR THE COMPANY.
Although just about all companies talk about empowering staff, in the vast majority of organizations, real empowerment is a pipe dream because employees aren’t given enough information to take ownership of anything.
If Sheila comes to you with a proposal you think is going to fail, you need to remind yourself why Sheila is working for you and why you paid top of the market to get her. Ask yourself these four questions: Is Sheila a stunning employee? Do you believe she has good judgment? Do you think she has the ability to make a positive impact? Is she good enough to be on your team?
One of the most fascinating results of Netflix’s culture, as mentioned in the book, is its ability to decentralize decision-making. The book explains what Netflix managers will do in the example of Sheila above.
If someone uses the freedom Netflix gives them to make important decisions without soliciting others’ viewpoints, Netflix considers that a demonstration of poor judgment.
At Netflix, it is tantamount to being disloyal to the company if you fail to speak up when you disagree with a colleague or have feedback that could be helpful. After all, you could help the business—but you are choosing not to.
Our North Star is building a company that is able to adapt quickly as unforeseen opportunities arise and business conditions change.
It’s about the joy of being surrounded by people who are both talented and collaborative.
P/S: Once you’ve read the book, below are a couple of discussions about the book I’ve found useful:
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