If a new interesting book gets into the ARENA CS library, I cannot ignore it. The last time this book was “The Strongest. Business by Netflix Rules” by Patti McCord, former VP of HR at Netflix. It reveals the answer to the question that interests all business owners – how can a huge corporation operate so effectively? And is it reliable for any other companies (for example, Ukrainian ones)? Freedom, honesty, and responsibility – is it so difficult to live with such values?
In revealing Netflix’s corporate principles, Patti first speaks of radical honesty in dealing with employees. Moreover, it is presented as an absolute necessity. Radical honesty generally means that people should be aware of what is happening in the company as possible at about the same level as its shareholders.
As a business owner, I felt the importance of this honesty in myself. I founded my company 17 years ago, in 2004. And from the first day until 2013, I maintained a protective relationship with my employees. Such “daughters-mothers,” only in business conditions. All new ideas, all important decisions were made only by me.
In 2013, I realized that this approach was ineffective. The company could not grow because the employees could not take the initiative. I saw that they suppress the development of creative ideas, without which the event manager in our profession is indispensable. Together, we rebuilt the entire corporate culture of our company and based it on the principle of self-management. I gave my employees responsibility for their schedule, for money, for workload, even for the choice of colleagues. And during this rebuilding process, I communicated a lot with each of them.
In general, it is necessary to talk with people during any business changes and be as honest with them as possible. A similar situation happened in my life when I flew to Tel Aviv. Our plane did not take off for a long time, the passengers began to get nervous and swear. Then the pilot went into the cabin and explained that the plane’s engine had broken down and we could neither take off nor get out of it. And he added that there is nothing to worry about, and he himself is going to get in touch every 10 minutes and tell us what situation we are in.
Indeed, he contacted us every 10 minutes and explained what was happening to the engine and their actions. Hearing this honesty, realizing that they were not hiding anything from us, the passengers calmed down and waited all 1.5 hours of delay without complaints or scandals.
The same thing works in business. Any changes in the company should be discussed with employees. Unsure of the future, doubting and incomprehensible, an employee will never support the company, be useful and effective, especially in an unstable period.
And an employee who is unsure of himself and his people cannot effectively manage either people or processes. In event management, this is unacceptable since the event manager assumes great responsibility for the reputation, tasks, and budget of the client, as well as for the safety and emotions of a large audience. In fact, he becomes the CEO of the project every time he accepts a new order. And such a person should feel and act accordingly.
After perestroika, my team ceased to be a family. But she became much stronger. The principles of honesty, freedom, and responsibility have helped us reveal the strength of everyone and allow him to contribute to the company’s development.
When people are given an area of responsibility, they start generating ideas on their own. During a difficult period, when COVID-19 appeared, my employees came to me and offered solutions to problems. And even more! They said: “Yana, we have already tested such and such solutions, adapted the proposals for the client, and agreed on the construction of work along a new path.”
It is in this attitude of people to their work that the values of our company lie. Be free, take action. Be creative, be creative. Be responsible, organize. Be productive, get high. These are the values and principles of behavior based on which I select employees for my team.
Our structure has changed along with the value system. Now the company as a whole covers only the tasks of HR, marketing, and IT support. All the main work and decision-making were divided into small groups, headed by Leaders (team leaders). Simply put, we have completely switched to self-organizing mode.
I brought the autonomy of these groups to the point that the team leaders themselves determine the size of the salaries and bonuses of their subordinates.
They have a budget that they distribute as bonuses to employees. Now the salary in my team is subjective and depends only on the efforts made. By the way, Patti McCord also speaks of the need for this approach.
Freedom, honesty, and responsibility in everything are the principles that in the book “The Strongest. Business by the Rules of Netflix” are put at the head
corner. I used the same principles in building my own company, which has been successfully developing for 17 years. Therefore, I can say with confidence – yes, the corporate company Netflix really works not only in American but also in Ukrainian realities. After all, I introduced such rules and values, in many ways, intuitively, based on insights from many business books even before I got acquainted with the history of Netflix.
See for yourself and read the book by Patti McCord. Perhaps in it, you will find many useful things for your business and, first of all, for yourself.
And you can find out in detail how our team is organized by watching the video of my speech at the HR Brand conference by the link.
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