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Total honesty

I am a fan of truth, even the worst, but truth. At home as well as in business. I guess that’s why I took an interest in Patty McCord, who encourages to practice radical honesty.

Urszula Radzińska

Urszula Radzińska

Journalist and musicologist who decided to dedicate herself to looking for harmony in corporate communication. Head of leading Polish content marketing agency Aude, CEO of Content Marketing Polska Association, author of interviews with experts “Your First Customer”.

★ 3 minutes czytania

Patty McCord “came” to me via TED, and it wasn’t immediately that I realized she was one of the people behind the famous organizational culture of Netflix. What prepossessed me most in her “8 lessons of building an organization” was how accurately she defined the problem we have with feedback. More precisely, with embracing feedback – we are not trained at it. Anyway, it’s worth taking a look at what she says:

I started to dig deeper, and I came across Patty’s book “Powerful. Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility”. Each chapter of the book is like a lesson, which she had mentioned on TED, where you can learn to:

  1. Treat People like Adults
  2. Communicate Constantly About Challenge
  3. Practice Radical Honesty
  4. Cultivate Strong Opinions and Argue About Them Only on the Facts
  5. Relentlessly Focus on the Future
  6. Have the Right Person in every Single Position
  7. Compensation Is a Judgment Call
  8. Make Needed Changes Fast, and Be a Great Place to Be From

In the Introduction the author, who argues to alter the way we work, talks about her 14 years at Netflix, a company which transferred from a DVD rental to a film producer streaming its own as well as other productions. She mentions how surprised she was when together with Reed Hastings she broadcast the first cultural manifesto of Netflix and it went viral.

I very much identify with her statement that building an organizational culture is an evolutionary process. “Think of it as an experimental journey of discovery”, she says.

Considering all those highbrow attitudes to corporate culture building behaviors, I want to quote what was important for Patty when they were creating Netflix culture (she was the head of HR in 1998-2012):

“Core set of practices that underpinned the culture:

  • We wanted open, clear, and constant communication about the work to be done and the challenges being faced, not only for a manager’s own team but for the company as a whole.
  • We wanted people to practice “radical honesty” telling one another, and us, the truth ina timely fashion and ideally face to face.
  • We wanted to have strong, fact-based opinions and to debate them avidly and test them rigorously.
  • We wanted people to base their actions on what was best for customer and the company, not on attempts to prove themselves right.
  • We wanted citing menagers to take the lead in preparing their teams for the future by making sure they had high performance with the right skills in every position.”

“The job of communication is never done. It’s not an annual or quarterly or even monthly or weekly function. Asteady stream of communication is the life blood of competitive advantage.”

Jej doświadczenia z praktykowania radykalnej szczerości w firmie, czyta się naprawdę z zapartym tchem. Jakie to napotykało problemy, jak działał doroczny dzień przekazywania feedbacku osobom, z którymi się pracowało „Start, Stop, Kontynuuj”, a wreszcie na ile to rozwiązanie dla wszystkich.

I highly recommend the book to all company owners, but also to anyone running a team, and for sure this should be a must read for HR departments.

Patty herself will be giving a presentation in Warsaw on Thursday: “Power, not empowerment”.


Kategorie: power of contentic, B2E

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