Powerful – Patty McCord Book Summary

Powerful – Patty McCord | Free Book Summary

Powerful – Patty McCord

Powerful: Radical ideas from Netflix

The Five Practices Of Netflix Culture

  • Open, clear, and constant communication: across the entire company about the work to be done and challenges being faced.
  • Radical honesty: telling one another, and managing, the truth in a timely fashion and ideally face to face.
  • Debating based on fact-based opinions: at Netflix, employees are expected to have strong, fact-based opinions and to debate them avidly and test them rigidly.
  • Customer and company first: people base their actions on what’s best for the customer and the company, not on attempts to prove themselves right.
  • Preparing teams for the future: The right skills with potential.

Face the challenges: Being Comfortable with Change

The most successful organizations will be the ones in which everyone, on every team, understands that all bets are off and everything is changing—and thinks that’s great.

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One of the biggest mistakes poor leaders and managers make is wanting to be the boss. They thinking that they can tell everyone what to do and do not want anyone to challenge them. In today’s rapidly changing, hyper-competitive world, that approach is fatal.

The one job of a manager

A business leader’s job is to create great teams that do amazing work on time. That’s it. That’s the job of management.

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If you and your managers build great teams, they will help you solve your toughest problems.

The Same Direction and Vision

While you help them focus on the most important work, many other distractions will melt away; the root problem of many dysfunctional teams is due to misaligned incentives and different visions. If everyone is moving in the same clear direction, and you’ve hired good people, you’ll be amazed at how much better things will go.

From Process To Discipline: The Path

It may seem like a subtle change from “process” to “discipline,” but it can make a big difference in how your team thinks about the changes that are needed. Many people dislike “process,” but most people agree that some level of discipline is helpful.

Efficient teams are created by hiring talented adults who want nothing more than to tackle a challenge, and then communicating clearly and continuously, about what that challenge is.

Are your employees aware of your business’s biggest challenges? Do you listen to their ideas on how to address it?  

Excellent colleagues, a clear purpose, and a well-understood deliverable: that’s a powerful combination.

Feedback on Action

The most important thing about giving feedback is that it must be about behaviour rather than some essential characteristics of a person, like “you are unfocused.”

You cannot sugarcoat feedback, or the spirit behind it and its importance can be missed. At the same time, you don’t want to make it a personal attack, either.  

Give feedback on the action, not the person.

Radical honesty: The benefit of being radically honest: If you want to know what people are thinking, there is no substitute for simply asking them, preferably face to face.

If you want a culture of candor and accountability, you may want to consider simple, direct feedback, too.

Leading By Example

You have to exhibit the courage you want people to have.

Actions speak louder than words. What you do as a leader says more than even the most inspiring speech. Lead by example to have a great company culture. If the CEO of Netflix can admit he’s wrong, then so can any staff member in the organization.

If you aren’t willing to live the values you want your team to exhibit, don’t make them your values. Otherwise, those unlived values will become the ones people snicker at and mock when complaining to their friends about their job.

Great Hiring: Hard But Crucial

Collaborating with HR to hire is just the beginning of building a great team. It also includes asking tough questions like, “Are we limited by the team we have, not the team we should have?”

Asking hard questions like this helps you not only hire good people now but make sure you are thinking about what you will need in the future. 

You should skate where the puck is going.

Perks Don’t Work

Great teams are not created with incentives, procedures, and perks. They are created by hiring talented people who are adults and want nothing more than to tackle a challenge, and then communicating clearly and continuously, about what the challenge is.

Having great managers is something people enjoy working with.

Providing (or reimbursing for) the training that will help your employees grow into future roles.

Increasing salaries to help you compete for the best possible talent that others will be excited to work with is a good idea.

Work Requires Teams, Not Families

There’s a big difference between a team and a family: teams change regularly and are optimized to win at all times, while families strive to stick together no matter what.

Treating employees like teammates instead of family can be scary if you’ve never thought of it that way, but if you’re scaling your business or making significant changes, you may have no choice.

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