Books: Powerful

Patty McCord created the 124-page document called "Netflix Culture: Freedom and Responsibility" which was available on Slideshare and later under Netflix site. After leaving Netflix, Patty explains how the culture of freedom and responsibility was built in the company. Freedom is described as the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. It is natural to think there are no chains of responsibility when one attains absolute freedom. On the contrary, there is a greater responsibility on your shoulders when you reach this state. Despite this simple fact, people lazily resort to the simple mechanism of carrot and stick to get things done. These days, organizations are realizing this irony and insisting on empowerment; that of its employees. So this non-fiction book is highly relevant in today's time.

This non-fiction book gives you a lot of insights into building a company culture by explaining what is important and how to achieve it. It illustrates many points with the example taken from Netflix's history. Some of the principles are simple. Treat people like adults. Communicate constantly. Practice honest. Debate vigorously. Get the right person for every job. Besides these principles, Patty illustrates two important ones. These two ideas make this book stand out in this genre.

In the first principle, Patty emphasizes that each employee should know the business of the organization. She also makes the point about human resources wing will not be able to make the right hire if they do not understand the business. Unless everyone knows about the business goals and the present position, no employee will be able to contribute towards the success. While dwelling on this topic, you will find it makes sense. We are not just a cog in the wheel. Instead, we are pushing the bike forward. Without a sense of direction and a higher purpose, we will not be able to contribute effectively.

The second point is more radical. It is not an organization's purpose to train the employees. Instead of spending a tremendous amount of money for developing employees, the organization should hire the right person. Therefore, it is up to the employee to enhance the current skillset. This point requires a lot of deliberation. We could always argue that a company with 5400 (as per Wikipedia on 24th March) can adopt such a stand. What about big companies who are in the services field? Can they take this stand? As I raise this question, several companies are empowering the employees to pursue these goals which can be easily achieved by collaborating with MOOC firms.

The culture deck may well be the most important document ever to come of the valley, according to Sheryl Sandberg. With such endorsements, we are curious to hear from one of the major brains behind it. In that respect, this book gives a lot of insights for us. Every chapter comes with a summary of key ideas at the end which enables a quick recall in the future. Finally, it is effortless to read. If you are in a leadership role, then you should pick it up.