(former chief talent officer at Netflix) wrote a document
on culture explaining how they shaped the culture and motivated performance at Netflix
- it's now been viewed more than 5 million times on the web. Sheryl Sandberg
(Chief Operating Officer of Facebook) has called it one of the most important documents ever to come out of Silicon Valley. (McCord, 2014). After talking to employees they shaped their approach to talent as "Hire, Reward, and Tolerate Only Fully Formed Adults",
hiring only "A" players to work alongside them like professional sports team. The company's expense policy is five words long, "Act in Netflix's best interests
", and when it came to taking holidays salaried employees were told to "take whatever time they felt was appropriate"
. (McCord, 2014) Spotify
is best known for their approach to working in Agile
(Beck, 2001), using the term 'Agile Squads
'. 30+ squads, covering 250+ people in three countries — each behaving like a lean startup in its own right. They apply self organising principles such as: autonomous squads over scrums, coaches not masters, community over structure, trust over control
… and a recent employee satisfaction survey says '91% are happy here
' (Kniberg, H. 2014). "Ideally each squad is fully autonomous with direct contact with their stakeholders, and no blocking dependencies to other squads. Basically a mini-startup. With over 30 teams, that is a challenge! We have come a long way, but there are still plenty of improvements to be made." - Henrik Kniberg (Kniberg, H. 2012) Tony Hsieh
(Zappos CEO) sent an all-staff email explaining how the entire company was embracing a concept known as 'Holacracy
' (Holacracy, 2016) - a Teal organisational paradigm
(Laloux, 2014) influenced methodology now sold as a product to organisations. Its central tenets include individual autonomy and self-governance. Holacracy is an idea invented in 2007 by Brian Robertson
(Robertson, 2016), it was inspired by Arthur Koestler
's 1967 book, 'The Ghost in the Machine' (Koestler, 1967).
Holacracy as a methodology is not suited to all organisations. Tony Hsieh had offered severance packages to all employees for whom self-management was not a good fit. Most stayed but 6% left citing holacracy, with reasons of "ambiguity and lack of clarity around progression, compensation, and responsibilities" and concluding that holacracy was a "half-baked" idea. Medium
, a social media company that recently dropped holacracy, found that "it was difficult to coordinate efforts at scale," said Andy Doyle
, the head of operations (Holacracy, 2016).
"You don't have a boss cell telling the other cells what to do. Every cell has its own self-organising process… Really what we're trying to do is turn each employee into a mini entrepreneur who has the ability to sense ideas and do something about it," says Robertson (Noguchi, Y. 2015.) Patagonia
are best known for being a purpose-led 'Teal' shaped organisation (Laloux, 2014), most notably for their work on being economically, socially and environmentally responsible. They have spent a lot of time measuring the environmental impacts of their clothing items, establishing fair working conditions and pay for every person, examined the use of paper in catalogs, the sources of their electricity, and the amount of oil they consume driving to work. Patagonia also gives employees throughout the world a number of interesting opportunities to support environmental work. (Patagonia, 2016)