Sharing my learnings from the book, No Rules Rules by Reed Hastings & Erin Meyer
No Rules Rules by Reed Hastings & Erin Meyer
Here for the first time, Hastings and Erin Meyer, bestselling author of The Culture Map and one of the world’s most influential business thinkers, dive deep into the controversial ideologies at the heart of the Netflix psyche, which have generated results that are the envy of the business world. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with current and past Netflix employees from around the globe and never-before-told stories of trial and error from Hastings’s own career, No Rules Rules is the fascinating and untold account of the philosophy behind one of the world’s most innovative, imaginative, and successful companies.
- Netflix is a start-up fairy tale that has a unique company culture based on employee freedom & responsibility and optimized for maximum innovation
- Netflix started off 20 years ago as a DVD-by-mail service, it streams Oscar-winning movies. From there, Netflix began licensing original content produced by other studios then finally began producing its own in-house movies & tv shows
- in 2000, Hastings (co-founder of Netflix) & his partner made a pitch to Blockbuster CEO to buy Netflix for $50 million & let them run Blockbuster’s website as an online video rental service. The Blockbuster CEO flatly declined. 10 years later, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy because it couldn’t keep up with Netflix.
- Netflix has been successful because of its unique company culture. A culture that values people, prioritizes innovation & has few control mechanisms
- 3 things are necessary to unlock the potential of radical employee freedom & the responsibility that comes with it:
- high talent density
- high levels of candor between employees & managers
- the courage to remove controls which waste everyone’s time & company money
- high talent density encourages employees to perform at their very best
- the secret to attracting & retaining rock star talent? Pay rock-star salaries.
- radical candor helps Netflix employees improve, even if it can be difficult to hear. In Netflix, If you don’t speak up when you disagree, it’s as if you are purposely being disloyal to the company (you could help the business be better, but you’re choosing not to).
- 4 rules to candor:
- give feedback with the aim of helping
- your feedback should be actionable
- when receiving feedback, you should appreciate the effort & bravery of your colleague speaking up
- you should think carefully about whether or not to accept it
- getting rid of useless policies made Netflix employees more accountable
- Hastings & his team coined the term Freedom & Responsibility – one thing leads to another, freedom is a path towards accountability
- when you offer radical freedom, leaders have to set context from the very start, as well as mode good behavior.
- giving more freedom to employees promotes accountability. It signals you trust them
- a lot of companies talk about how their employees are a family. For Netflix, a job is something you do for a magical period of time when you’re the best person for the job and the job is the best position for you. Netflix employees think of themselves as a professional sports team aiming for the championship.
- at most companies, the boss is there to either approve or shut down employees’ ideas. At Netflix, managers lead with context, letting employees use their own judgment to make the choice they feel is best for the company