Last year, the company updated its manifesto on Netflix Culture, a detailed statement of its principles, policies, and practices with respect to the human factor in business. What’s unusual about the manifesto is how sharp the language is; there is no hint of HR boilerplate. “Many companies have value statements,” it begins, “but often these written values are vague and ignored. The real values of a firm are shown by who gets rewarded or let go.” So what kind of people get rewarded at Netflix? “You say what you think, when it’s in the best interest of Netflix, even if it is uncomfortable,” the manifesto says. “You are willing to be critical of the status quo” and “You make tough decisions without agonizing.” Moreover, “You are able to be vulnerable, in search of truth.” The essential point: Great companies understand that they have to work as distinctively as they hope to compete.
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