Category Archives: Profiles

A Case Study of Netflix’s High-Performance Culture

A year ago I attended Certified Agile Leadership  (CAL1) training. As preparation for the course, we were to prepare a case study of a few suggested companies, such as Netflix, which has a high-performance culture. The facilitator of CAL1 focused on company culture, stressing this idea throughout the leadership training.

I was fascinated to learn that Netflix has a strong focus on its culture. It describes itself as being in a creative-inventive market. No one can doubt their success. So I was quite curious to research the company and see what I could learn.

In universal terms, Netflix prides itself on having a culture that embraces the two pillars of freedom and responsibility. It lists nine qualities and behaviours that it values:

  1. Judgement – make wise decisions, treat root problems, prioritize work

  2. Communication – be concise and articulate, listen well, be respectful and calm under stress

  3. Impact – accomplish great amounts of important work, reliable, focus on great results rather than process, avoid analysis-paralysis

  4. Curiosity – learn rapidly and eagerly, seek to understand, broadly knowledgable, and contribute beyond own specialty

  5. Innovation – find practical solutions to hard problems, challenge prevailing assumptions, create useful ideas, minimize complexity

  6. Courage – say what you think even if controversial, make tough decisions without agonizing, take smart risks, question actions inconsistent with values

  7. Passion – inspire others to excellence, care about company’s success, celebrate wins, tenacious

  8. Honesty – candor and directness, non-political, no backbiting, admit mistakes

  9. Selflessness – seek what’s best for company, ego-less regarding best ideas, help colleagues, share information pro-actively

(Of course, as I reflect on the above values, I do a simultaneous self-evaluation…)

Managers at Netflix use a unique employee evaluation tool called “The Keeper Test.” It goes like this: “Which of my people, if they told me they were leaving for a similar job at a peer company, would I fight hard to keep?”

To understand this better, the idea of hard work is not relevant to the Netflix culture. Sustained B-level performance, despite one’s efforts, will win a generous severance package. To counter that, a sustained A-level performance, despite minimal effort, gets more responsibility and great pay. This high-performance culture is made for those who thrive on excellence, candour and change. They value those who are self-motivating, self-aware, self-disciplined, self-improving, and (this I especially love!) those who act like a leader but who will pick up trash from the floor.

One surprising idea in Netflix’s culture is that they believe that optimizing processes is a negative. Instead, they pursue flexibility over safer efficiency. Their option to growth and chaos is to “avoid chaos as you grow with ever-more high-performance people – not with rules.” This allows them to leverage self-discipline and attract creativity.

They use a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince, which speaks volumes about their culture:

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

I believe that that quote almost encapsulates the Agile way.

To read more about Netflix, go to https://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-1798664/19-Seven_Aspects_of_our_Culture


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Agile Coach Profile: Michael Sahota

Michael Sahota - Profile Picture (2016)Michael Sahota: Sage Advice For Organizational Growth 

By Rachel Perry

 

BERTEIG is proud to announce that in September Michael Sahota is offering a brand new Certified Leadership Training in Toronto, Ontario.

  • this is the first training of its kind in Canada!
  • Michael was the second trainer to be approved, based training he  developed & delivered over the last few years.
  • Michael was the first to deliver this training worldwide!

A Bit of Michael’s Background

In 2010, Michael was approved as a Certified Scrum Coach, a prestigious certification for someone capable of coaching enterprises. He says he was and continues to be very proud of this since certification which demonstrates extensive experience and qualifications.

He openly shares that several years ago, he experienced his own personal inner transformation which has enlightened him and opened many new doors of opportunity.

When reflecting on this process of growth, he describes it like this.

 “I looked at myself in the mirror and [saw] I was in no position to invite leaders on a transformational journey. I needed to work on myself. So I set about reinventing myself.”

The journey of reinventing himself is a whole other story which he shares in his blog Agilitrix.com.

He writes,

“I had a hypothesis that if I changed how I showed up, I would be able to invite leaders on their own transformational journeys. This hypothesis has been proven several times over. I have become the change that I want to see in the world. And at the same time I continue to be a work-in-progress with edges around ego, seeking attention, too attached to ideas, etc.”

He says he is excited to delighted to help managers, executives and coaches become more effective in fostering Agile environments through Scrum Alliance’s new Certified Agile Leadership training program.

 

 


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