A corporate culture of freedom and responsibility

A corporate culture of freedom and responsibility

Posted by Torben Rick | February 13, 2015 | Corporate Culture
A corporate culture of freedom and responsibility

Great corporate culture doesn’t just happen

The iceberg - organizational changeStep inside any company, no matter the size, stage of development, or level of success, and the culture is either driving the strategy or undermining it.

To exist in the first place, a company must have a clear purpose, a deliberate intent, and a set of ideas that it uses to pursue a clear goal – but it’s the people who have to execute it.

But let’s face it – great corporate culture doesn’t just happen – leaders need to make it happen. Creating a high performance culture require many different elements. Is unlimited vacation policy one of them?

Freedom and responsibility culture

Co-founder Reed Hastings recently told Bloomberg Businessweek that Netflix has an unlimited vacation policy:

We want responsible people who are self-motivating and self-disciplined, and we reward them with freedom. The best example is our vacation policy. It’s simple and understandable: We don’t have one. We focus on what people get done, not on how many days they worked

At Netflix, we think you have to build a sense of responsibility where people care about the enterprise. Hard work, like long hours at the office, doesn’t matter as much to us. We care about great work. This requires thoughtful, mature high-performance employees

Hasting explained how the idea evolved:

My first company, Pure Software, was exciting and innovative in the first few years and bureaucratic and painful in the last few before it got acquired. The problem was we tried to systemize everything and set up perfect procedures. We thought that was a good thing, but it killed freedom and responsibility. After the company was acquired, I reflected on what went wrong.

In an effort to separate itself from bureaucratic corporations, Netflix abandoned the typical vacation allotment to opt for a sky’s-the-limit plan.

Netflix isn’t the only company that has jumped on the all-you-want vacation bandwagon. IBM has a famously flexible time-off policy — letting employees leave early and take a day off on short notice, just so long as they have a handle on their workloads.

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About The Author

Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

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