Netflix’s approach to a High Performance #Culture

As we prepare for the the holiday period this Christmas, those of us in leadership positions should spend some time reviewing our styles and our impact on the organisation for the new year. Even if you are not a designated leader, you can still influence your group by your behaviour and be perceived of worthy of leading it. Harvard Business Review suggests a simple five-minute exercise which entails, writing about your ambitions and your future achievements. This suggests recalling a time when you felt powerful and successful. People in that frame of mind are more likely than others to speak up, influence decision-making and be perceived by co-workers as leadership material. Remember, first impressions are often long-lasting.

A short series exploring the process of change, management and leadership through child’s blocks

I really want to share with you, a slideshow presentation by Netflix. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, in a GQ interview, has described it as “one of the most important documents to ever emerge from Silicon Valley. Viewed more than 5 million times on the web, the presentation which contains 127 slides and is a classic example of how empowering employees is not abdication of leadership responsibility. After all, the best career planning strategy is to surround people with even more stunning people.

If you’ve never read the presentation, I suggest spending some time next year the board room and go through it from a local perspective, it should certainly spark discussion and provide much food for thought. In it Netflix lists 7 aspects of their culture:

  1. Values are what we Value
  2. High Performance
  3. Freedom & Responsibility
  4. Context not Control
  5. Highly Aligned, Loosely Coupled
  6. Pay Top of Market
  7. Promotions & Development

And They make this point. “The actual company values, as opposed to the nice sounding values, as shown by those who gets rewarded, promoted, or let go”. The point here is that actual company values of those behaviours and skills that are highly valued in your fellow co-workers. Staff that are considered mediocre will never be able to display these values adequately. In Netflix’s company culture, such employees are let go quickly in a respectful manner. I am sure many people might take issue with Netflix’s controversial tough love approach to human capital management. Are you ready to embrace a culture governed by few rules and zero tolerance to mediocrity?

Culture from Reed Hastings
Image credit by Parley