Article written by Jos Van Bree – CFR Global Executive Search The Netherlands.
Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of NETFLIX, was interviewed recently in response to publishing his book NO RULES RULES.
It is all about the very special company culture of Netflix. He is convinced that the very unique “NETFLIX culture” is crucial for the success of his company. Specific details of the culture he mentioned are “innovation above efficiency”, and “people above procedures”.
Headlines of the Netflix company culture became public in 2009 when a 127 pages presentation named The Culture Deck caused considerable interest amongst several Senior Managers in Silicon Valley. Facebook’s most senior female employee Sheryl Sandberg concluded in an interview in 2013 that The Culture Deck could be “the most important document ever published in Silicon Valley”. Lots of quotes and examples regarding the culture are worth reading. However, in his eyes, the most important part of the book is about management style.
Reed Hastings said, regarding this: “Take the example of Dutch People”.
Netflix is active in 200 countries with regional offices in, among others, Amsterdam (since 2015), Tokyo, Singapore, Sao Paolo and Manila. Hastings was and is trying his best to export the Netflix culture to all of its worldwide offices, but this is very difficult. In the majority of offices, there appears to be a reluctance of its employees to speak openly of their peers and Line Managers and particularly, Senior Management. However, he does cite the Netflix employees in The Netherlands as the exception. Based on his own research and experiences, he concluded that the Dutch people have no issues in delivering critical and honest feedback to each other. They are prepared to accept criticism of underperformance from colleagues, Managers or subordinates and furthermore, are able to deliver feedback in a way which leads to improved performance.
When looking to develop stronger and more effective employees, Reed promotes The Dutch Way – to all Netflixers, from starters in operational jobs to its most senior Managers!