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Netflix Culture Deck

Written by Ed Callahan on July 31, 2014

Implementers EOS

An EOS client of mine made me aware of this Netflix Culture Power Point deck. It was created by Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, and Patty McCord, Chief Talent Officer at Netflix from 1998 to 2012, and has been viewed more than 5 million times. You can read the Harvard Business Review article (which also contains the PPT deck) authored by Patty McCord here. She summarizes five of the central ideas that she and Hastings were focused on when they and a few other colleagues created the deck. Few could argue with the success of it given the success of Netflix. It is great food for thought for any company. You should read her article as well as page through the deck. See my observations below the slide deck.

Culture from Reed Hastings

I am going to comment from an EOS point of view on the Netflix principles espoused.

First of all, it is all about creating a culture based on values. I love that Netflix says that values are behaviors and skills (EOS would say behaviors and traits). They aren’t what Patrick Lencioni calls permission-to-play, aspirational or accidental values, but rather they are what exists in your company and they are what attracts people to or repels them from you.

Second, it is about fit and performance in your role (EOS calls them seats). Some nuggets,- A great workplace is stunning colleagues. Adequate Performance gets a generous severance package. Netflix is like a Pro Sports Team, not a little league team. In procedural work, the best are 2x better than their peers. In creative and inventive work (and I would include sales & marketing in this category), the best are 10x better than their peers. Increase talent density faster than complexity grows.

Third, manage through context rather than control. Pure EOS. Clear roles and responsibilities. Clear measurements. Clear objectives and expectations. Then trust the best will get the work done better than you might.

Fourth, highly coupled [shared vision] and loosely aligned [trust based] applies nicely to how we expect the executive leaders to behave and to lead their teams. It relates directly to #3.

Fifth, the remainder of the slides go to retention, morale, promotion and development. All worth reading – radical but they make sense in the context of the culture at Netflix which is one of creativity & self-discipline, freedom and responsibility. And Netflix walks the talk. Their compensation, vacation and expense policies are all not what you have experienced.

Would you dare implement policies like these? Have you?

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