Top 10 concepts from Netflix’s culture of ‘Freedom and Responsibility’

Back in 2009 Netflix released a slide deck called ‘Freedom & Responsibility’ that explained some of their strategy and culture.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that it “may well be the most important document ever to come out of the Valley”.

I first heard about it a few years back when I read Dave Coplin’s brilliant (and succinct) book Business Reimagined, which you can download here for free.

‘Freedom & Responsibility’ was something that evolved at Netflix over many years.  Here are what I consider to be the 10 most notable ideas from the document.

 1.  A company’s values – and what it claims to be its values – can be very different.


2.  As a business grows… freedom is curtailed, complexity increases and ‘talent density’ decreases.


3.  As the number of processes increase, a business becomes ever more rigid and can no longer adapt.


4.  Attracting and retaining high performance individuals is a key part of Netflix’s strategy.


5.  Employees should take ownership of their own development and achieve job security by being valuable in the marketplace, not just at their current company.


6.  Always pay market rates, even if your company is struggling.  Market rates shouldn’t only apply when the employee is hired.


7.  The traditional ways of managing employee’s performance such as annual compensation reviews and annual bonuses may no longer be the best way.


8.  There are three models of Corporate Teamwork.


9.  Being ‘big, fast and flexible’ relies on ‘context, not control’.


10.  Netflix keeps things very simple with regard to Holiday, Gifts and Expenses policies – again preferring freedom and responsibility.  For example, take as many days off as you need.