There is no better time to be a fan of entertainment than now with streaming services like Netflix available at your fingertips. We are used to the access of the endless stream of our favourite Korean dramas, the picturesque documentaries, the adorable animated characters and the impressive VFX spectacle of Hollywood blockbusters; but we often don’t think about how all this is made possible.
In his new book, No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, gives us a glimpse into the corporate culture that has given people in 190 countries the power to choose what, how, where and when to experience the magic of compelling storytelling – providing fresh perspectives that bring us closer to each other.
Here are Reed Hastings’ 5 lessons learned over the last 20 years of Netflix Ta-dumm
Lesson 1: No Rules Rules
Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand over at the Netflix office. The company adheres to a simple five-word principle: act in Netflix’s best interest.
In the world of Netflix, there are no set vacation days and there’s no need to submit a claim form. Netflixers can take as much leave as they want and are trusted to make financial commitments within their domain without higher up approvals. This level of trust is given to employees to steward the company to greater heights.
Lesson 2: A global company needs a global culture
With 18 office locations across 14 countries, the way people work in each corner of the world can shift according to the different cultures and values that exist. The Netflix approach is fairly simple – get the best people, give them frank feedback and empower their decision- making.
Its 360-degree reviews allow employees to provide feedback to one another, no matter where you stand on the corporate ladder. The process is freeform, allowing Netflixers to share their true sentiments with each other and foster open communication leading to a healthy team.
Lesson 3: Disagree openly and move forward with candor
Inspired by Hastings’ own marriage counselling experience where he learned to be honest and express discontent, he began encouraging his staff to say exactly what they thought, but with positive intent.
“We now say that it is disloyal to Netflix when you disagree with an idea and do not express that disagreement,” Hastings writes in the book.
The CEO admits that Netflix is no stranger to big mistakes, citing Qwikster where the company separated its DVD and streaming services too early. Employees were not comfortable sharing that it was a bad idea at the time. As a result, the company shifted its culture to focus on farming for dissent in an effort to foster open communication and give everyone a voice.
Lesson 4: Inspire, Don’t Manage.
The key here is context, not control. In other words, people who work at Netflix are encouraged to think for themselves – versus do what their bosses assume is right. Employees should be inspired enough to unleash their creativity and not be forced to follow rigid rules.
At the end of the day, it’s really all about freedom and inspiring people to serve members better.
Lesson 5: Open the books! Share information broadly within the company.
Netflix makes confidential information that many companies typically keep under lock and key widely available internally. Things like contracts or how the business is performing on a day-to-day is common knowledge – giving employees the information they need to make great decisions on behalf of the brand.
Watch Reed Hastings explain his no rules rules here.