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No Rules Rule : Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

A reading for December 2020 — At Libéo, we’re passionate about many things and one of those things is reading! We’ll share books with you that made a mark on us and that we’d love for you to discover.
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Édouard Grondin-Fortin
2 min
December 4, 2020
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Check out our summary of the book No Rules Rules: Netflix and The Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer.

In a nutshell

This book shares Netflix founder Reed Hastings’ vision of human resources told through stories, dialogue, and professional anecdotes. It was co-written by Erin Meyer, a reputable professor of cross-cultural management at the European Institute of Business Administration. This book was literally written in tandem, meaning that a chapter may start with Reed’s writing and end with Erin’s comments. This formula is quite original, and I loved the mix of theory and field experience. Reed Hastings shares the secrets that have made him so successful at Netflix, including the no rules rule. By building his company around 3 core pillars, he has managed to run an international company with more than 10,000 employees without any rules.

What does it all mean?

  • Fewer rules bring a breath of fresh air to a company. It’s better to lead with context than with rules. For example, asking the question “Does Netflix come out ahead?” replaces a myriad of complicated rules associated with reimbursing meals or travel expenses, etc.
  • Hire the best talent in the industry. Talented, career-oriented individuals produce more, take criticism better and innovate more, which easily makes up for their higher salaries.
  • Build a culture of transparency. A company where constructive criticism is the norm among employees enables everyone to thrive and improve, and eliminates the petty politics that plague so many organizations.
  • Manage your teams with a strong vision. Using trees as a metaphor, Reed explains that the vision at the root of the company must be powerful and unambiguous, like the trunk of a tree. From this vision flow other visions (the primary and secondary branches) for each department, so that decisions made by employees (the leaves) are aligned with the rest of the tree. This gives employees the freedom to make important decisions without their bosses intervening.

 An inspiring quote from the book

“Humility is important in a leader and role model. When you succeed, speak about it softly or let others mention it for you. But when you make a mistake say it clearly and loudly, so that everyone can learn and profit from your errors. In other words, ’Whisper wins and shout mistakes.’” ―Reed Hastings, No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

Which colleague would you recommend this book to?

We recommend this book to any person or organization that wants to understand how a company can successfully build a culture of innovation like the one that Netflix has. Whether you’re an employee who wants to move up the ladder, a manager who wants to develop their leadership or a CEO who hopes to better communicate their vision, this book is for you!

Enjoy your reading!

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