Top 4 Management Pills, From "No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention"

I Really Enjoyed This One

If you follow me and read my posts, you'll know that I'm an avid reader. In 2021 I read a total of 20 books (Kindle stats) and this year I' m also following a really good reading rhythm

I usually write about Project Management, Management and Productivity... but from time to time I find really good books I want to share. I invite you to take a look to the post I wrote called: Management Pills, From "Creativity, INC." by Ed Catmull. You can check it out here.

This time I'll share with you some management pills I got from the last book I read called: "No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention", by Erin Meyer and Reed Hastings. Erin Meyer is an INSEAD professor and author of the famous book "The Culture Map" and Reed Hastings is the Netflix's CEO.

Please, allow me to say I consider this book a must read for all Managers as there're a lot of learnings in its pages. In this post I'll share few of the ones I got during my reading journey. I hope you'll enjoy them!

Management Pills, From "No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention"

Management Pills

Let me start this section with one quote I consider summarize the key learnings after reading the book.

“I hoped to promote flexibility, employee freedom, and innovation, instead of error prevention and rule adherence.” 

- Reed Hastings -

Let's go now with the first one!

1. Increase and Protect the Talent Density

Really simple, just hire and keep "stunning" employees. Get rid of any employee not performing at extraordinary level. 

This may sound a bit extreme, let me clarify. Reed has the following theory: If you’ve got a team of five employees of which four are outstanding, but one is average, then soon the others will start to behave like the average one. 

Once you have a team of "stunning" employees, you have to protect and fortify it. Netflix does it by paying the top of market salaries for each role. They call it the "rock-start principle", hire one rock-start employee instead of hiring five non-rock-starts.

These would be the recommended actions to increase and protect the talent density of your company.

2. Feedback Guidelines

One of the key pillars of Netflix culture if the feedback. Giving and receiving proper feedback is necessary for professional growth. In Netflix is recommended give and receive direct feedback by following the 4A guideline. 

  • Aim to assist (giving feedback)
  • Feedback needs to be Actionable (giving feedback)
  • Be Appreciative, don't be defensive (receiving feedback)
  • Accept or discard (receiving feedback)

As a bonus track for the feedback section, we could state that a proper 360 analysis should be of 25% positive feedback and 75% constructive feedback.

3. Remove Control Policies

Reed suggests to start by removing Vacation and Travel Expense policies. They found that giving employees more freedom led them to take more ownership and behave more responsibly. 

One key success factor to make this rule work is assuring the boss will give example. The boss should take as much vacations as possible. We have the risk of converting a "no vacation policy" into a "NO vacation" policy.

4. Lead with Context, Not Control

This last management pill is not suitable every business. Is your business based on preventing errors to work properly? This would be case in an hospital, where having multiple controls every time a surgery is performed is key to its success. In this case just lead with control. 

On the other side, is it you goal to become a good innovation player within your business? Then leading with context is for you. Let me give a brief example so you'll understand what I'm writing about: Someone on your team comes to you with an idea and needs to take a decision. Instead of sharing your thoughts about which decision to be taken or push him, just share which are the department/company goals and ask if this decision is aligned with them. Let your team take the decisions as they are the best in their field. 

So, what about you? Did you read this book? Did you find any of these pills applicable to your organization? Please, feel free to share with me your thoughts about this topic by adding a comment to this post.

August 04, 2022


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