CHAPTER 11PATTY MCCORD

ON EMPLOYEE EMPOWERMENT AND TALENT MANAGEMENT

As we’ve just seen, Google has a strong set of values. It decided to encapsulate them into a catchy motto: “Don’t be evil.”1 This phrase, deeply incorporated into the company’s culture since early 2000, has been part of its code of conduct that it communicates to its employees. In May 2018, the company adopted an adjusted version, which is now “Do the right thing.”2 By keeping this at the forefront of its people’s minds, Google continues seeking to influence its workers’ daily behavior. 

Netflix also gives advice to its people. Here is a long list of counsels given by Patty McCord, former Chief Talent Officer:

  • Be quick to admit mistakes. 
  • Say what you think even if it’s controversial. 
  • Keep us nimble by minimizing complexity. 
  • Re-conceptualize issues to discover practical solutions to hard problems.
  • Only say things about fellow employees you would say to their face.3

A few years ago, McCord described the culture of her California company in a 124-slide PowerPoint presentation. Sheryl Sandberg, number two at Facebook, gave praise by calling it “the most important document ever to come out of the Valley.”4 These slides have since been viewed more than 18 million times.

In this presentation, McCord explains that Netflix wants to grow fast, but without losing the values and effectiveness of a small structure. For her, “Most companies curtail freedom and become bureaucratic as they grow.”5 With growth comes ...

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