Aim Higher: Creating a Great Culture with Patty McCord
What do you get when you combine radical honesty with grace? You get the chance to create a powerful culture for your company and a successful career track for your employees.
That’s the theory behind the career of my guest on this week’s “Aim Higher” podcast, Patty McCord. She was with Netflix when it was a start-up as its Chief Talent Officer and helped create their now famous “Freedom and Responsibility” PowerPoint deck. That deck was a fairly massive set of slides that Netflix published, openly, on the web in order to let people know, “This is what we value here, and this is how we reward it.” As she tells me, it was a short-cut to finding great employees. You could read the deck and get a real feel for whether or not Netflix was a place you’d fit in. If it wasn’t? You weren’t going to show up for an interview… which saves everyone a whole lot of time. That’s radical honesty—and grace—right there.
We got the chance to talk through a number of important, and often difficult, subjects ranging from leadership to growth to recruiting to compensation. But the one that really got me thinking was this simple yet hard-hitting nugget:
“Happy employees is not a goal.”
Take a moment and let that sink in. I had to! At first, I was a bit shocked. I felt like arguing the point. “Wait,” I was thinking. “We do want happy employees! Of course, that’s a goal.” But as we explored the idea a bit further, I realized what she was saying. It’s not that we don’t want happy employees. Of course we do, but we can’t make that the goal of the company. The goals are the hard things: creating great products, innovating, keeping customers delighted. For non-profits, it may be making an impact in the communities you’re serving. Then—by achieving those goals and doing the hard things—you get happy employees. When we turn that around and try to focus too much on doing things solely for the sake of employee satisfaction, we may be short-circuiting the process that, ultimately, is meant to make everyone more fulfilled.
Patty shares so many incredible lessons one after the other that I’m sure you will want to listen in on our conversation.
Or listen by clicking here. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/patty-mccord-creating-a-great-culture/id1467377768?i=1000455870544
Patty turned many of these lessons into a wonderful book, Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility. It’s a great read for anyone who’s interested in improving their workplace culture.
“There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.” – Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
“Performance more often comes down to a cultural challenge, rather than simply a technical one.” –Lara Hogan, Etsy
“Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation.” – Doris Kearns Goodwin, American biographer, historian, and political commentator
“Great leaders talk about the future more than they’re nostalgic about the past.” -Patty McCord
“Create trust by demonstrating that something is in the best interest of both the company and a person’s career.” -Patty McCord
“The more context you can give people, the more they’re able to operate with freedom and make the right choices.” -Patty McCord
“Your job is to create an organization that’s a great place to be from.” –Patty McCord
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