This 6 min. read saves you up to 89 hours
For your knowledge advantage, we put together the most actionable insights from 21 getAbstract summaries (17 books with a total of 4425 pages, one video and one podcast) on this topic. If you did this work yourself, you would be busy for at least 5304 minutes (about 89 hours). Learn more.

Courage and Candor

Build a courageous culture with trust and learning at its center

Courage and Candor

Famed CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, led Netflix from a DVD-by-mail video rental business to a pioneering superstar tech company and then to an award-winning TV and film production studio, all the while navigating the ever-shifting waters of global digital transformation. If you ask him what enabled this meteoric success, he will tell you without hesitation: it’s culture. Netflix knew from the beginning it would have to be creative and agile to win in the marketplace. To do so would take courage, and a courageous company needs a courageous culture.

1. Culture is Built From the Values You Reward

Netflix is known for having “no rules,” but that doesn’t mean it has no values. On the contrary, without rules, values are even more important. In his book, No Rules Rules, Hastings emphasizes the company’s values of people and innovation over rules and efficiency. In conversation with venture capitalist Ben Horowitz on his a16Z podcast, he spoke about “Designing a Culture of Reinvention” and makes the point that a company’s culture is not necessarily its stated values, but the behaviors it rewards. Enron stated it valued integrity, but its lack of integrity in practice defrauded investors and led to bankruptcy. Netflix leaders thought it was important not to burden the company with too many processes and rules, so periodically they go through a ‘spring cleaning’ to get rid of them. Instead, Netflix relies on its “culture memo” that describes the values it upholds and that it intends to reward. It’s also a way of holding their executives accountable.

Image of: Designing a Culture of Reinvention
Podcast Summary

Designing a Culture of Reinvention

What does a highly creative corporate culture look like?

Reed Hastings and Ben Horowitz Andreessen Horowitz
Read Summary

Netflix set out to create a courageous culture, one willing to take calculated risks in response to a quickly evolving market in streaming video. It wouldn’t have been possible without building talent through the habit of constant feedback underpinned by radical candor. 

Related Summaries in getAbstract’s Library
Image of: The Invincible Company
Book Summary

The Invincible Company

Bulletproof your business’s growth and sustainability by innovating and improving your business model.

Alan Smith, Alex Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur and Fred Etiemble Wiley Read Summary
Image of: Play Bold
Book Summary

Play Bold

Innovation specialist Magnus Penker offers dos and don’ts for innovating your way out of redundancy.

Magnus Penker Leaders Press Read Summary
Image of: Open Strategy
Book Summary

Open Strategy

Open up strategy and ideation to employees, customers – and even the general public – to spur innovation.

Christian Stadler, Kurt Matzler, Stephan Friedrich von den Eichen, Gary Hamel and Julia Hautz MIT Press Read Summary
Image of: No Rules Rules
Book Summary

No Rules Rules

Netflix’s success and continued reinvention spring from its unique culture of freedom and responsibility.

Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer Penguin Press Read Summary
Image of: Innovation Management
Channel

Innovation Management

Generating an innovative idea is one thing (and not so easy to do), however, in business that idea matters most if your organization…

Open Channel

2. “Radical Candor” Aids Agility

Honesty is crucial to performance feedback, otherwise it’s not useful. Employees want their managers to be honest with them, so they can troubleshoot weak areas and build on their strengths. Honest feedback keeps employees engaged. At Netflix, employees are encouraged to challenge even their bosses. Hastings expects his executives to challenge him with honest feedback if they don’t agree with him and publicly rewards them for doing so.

“At multiple levels, you want to overcome people’s reticence to provide useful feedback to power figures.”

Reed Hastings

“Radical candor” is a form of feedback developed by former Apple and Google executive Kim Scott that takes honesty to the next level. It can be perceived as blunt. The trick is to be direct while also being sure the person you’re giving feedback to knows that, on a personal level, you care; the feedback isn’t personal, it’s meant to help. Radical candor has proven its meddle in startups that don’t have the time or resources to play office politics. It’s necessary for volatile business environments where companies expect their workers to keep up with the swift pace of change. To remain agile, to ensure that everyone is on the same page, even when the page changes, requires open communication and radical candor. 

Image of: Radical Candor
Video Summary

Radical Candor

Good managers know that they often need to be cruel to be kind. Learn how to deliver constructive feedback.

Kim Scott First Round Review
Read Summary

Scott recommends implementing four guidelines for practicing radical candor:

  • Ask for feedback after every interaction.
  • Don’t allow backstabbing. Be sure people in conflict resolve their conflict first or come to you together.
  • Be available to a manager’s reports as a group to encourage feedback about their manager, while also sharing this information to facilitate improvement.
  • Prioritize your own physical, mental and emotional health so you can be genuinely caring of others.

In The Courage Solution, author Mindy Mackenzie recognizes that not all bosses appreciate brutally honest feedback. Sometimes they’d prefer no feedback at all. Understanding your boss better – likes, dislikes, main priorities and values – is crucial to improving interactions.

Image of: The Courage Solution
Book Summary

The Courage Solution

Learn to be brave enough to “tell the truth” to yourself and others at work and at home.

Mindy Mackenzie Greenleaf Book Group
Read Summary

At the same time, make it your business to understand everything about your company’s values, goals and strategies. Focus on building a good and trusting relationship. Voice both compliments and concerns in private and praise your boss in public. When your feedback aligns with company objectives and includes positive observations as well as diplomatically phrased critiques, your boss is much more likely to listen. This same advice holds for relationships with co-workers. If something a co-worker does aggravates you, don’t let tensions build. Be courageous enough to broach the subject calmly yet firmly. Perhaps your co-worker is honestly unaware of the problems their behavior causes. Give them the benefit of the doubt, but have the courage to be honest.

Related Summaries in getAbstract’s Library
Image of: Transparency
Book Summary

Transparency

Openness and honesty are the new rules for doing business – whether you’re ready for them or not.

Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman and James O’Toole Jossey-Bass Inc. Publishers Read Summary
Image of: How to Say Anything to Anyone
Book Summary

How to Say Anything to Anyone

Improve your workplace relationships and build trust with clear, mutually supportive communication.

Shari Harley Greenleaf Book Group Read Summary
Image of: The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt
Book Summary

The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt

Performance consultant Deb Bright shows you how to become more proficient at giving and even receiving criticism.

Deb Bright AMACOM Read Summary
Image of: Who's Got Your Back
Book Summary

Who’s Got Your Back

Create a team of advisers that will catapult you to success while improving your life.

Keith Ferrazzi Broadway Books Read Summary
Image of: Communication
Channel

Communication

Master the skills to be an effective communicator.

Open Channel

3. Bake Coaching Into Every Relationship To Build Trust

Truth and courage are easier for people when their culture supports it and they see leaders who model these values. Creativity expert Douglas Riddle recommends doing the deliberate work it takes to foster a “coaching culture” in his report “Truth and Courage.” People who work in such an environment routinely reflect on company goals and innovate without fear if they fail. Even “difficult conversations” will provoke change for the better when people know the goal is to encourage growth.

Image of: Truth and Courage
Report Summary

Truth and Courage

Implementing a “coaching culture” improves your business’s working environment and performance.

Douglas Riddle Center for Creative Leadership
Read Summary

To work coaching into your culture, start by implementing routine formal coaching and informal, in-the-moment feedback sessions among leadership. Once leaders are convinced of the positive effects, start incorporating such sessions into every relationship; begin by announcing this intention and that you will be soliciting feedback from everybody about how to build a more responsive organization. Include teaching coaching techniques in your leadership development training. Encourage peer-to-peer coaching and develop incentives to reward the coaching habit.

A coaching view affirms that by inspiring discovery, reflection and persistence in another person, that person becomes capable of significantly greater achievement, deeper and broader thinking, and more consistent expression of their values over time.

Douglas Riddle
Related Summaries in getAbstract’s Library
Image of: Performance Conversations
Book Summary

Performance Conversations

Replace the annual performance review with more frequent and effective coaching conversations based on powerful questions.

Christopher D. Lee Society For Human Resource Management Read Summary
Image of: The Heart of Laser-Focused Coaching
Book Summary

The Heart of Laser-Focused Coaching

Coach your clients to find their own solutions.

Marion Franklin Marion Franklin Read Summary
Image of: The Coaching Habit
Book Summary

The Coaching Habit

Asking “seven essential questions” can improve your executive coaching skills.

Michael Bungay Stanier Box of Crayons Press Read Summary
Image of: The Tao of Coaching
Book Summary

The Tao of Coaching

Change other people’s lives – and your own – by becoming a great coach.

Max Landsberg Profile Books Read Summary
Image of: Coaching
Channel

Coaching

How much of coaching your employees is guiding them, how much is teaching, and how much is asking the right questions and listening…

Open Channel

4. It All Takes Courage

Courage, as opposed to egoistic brashness, attracts people to you and challenges them to do their best, say Drs. Merom Klein and Rod Napier in The Courage to Act. People need the courage to survive today’s highly volatile, aggressive and ever-changing business environment, let alone to take action. There will always be plenty of obstacles and it takes courage to keep overcoming them.

Image of: The Courage to Act
Book Summary

The Courage to Act

Candor, rigor, purpose, will and risk build the courage you need to survive the unsafe corridors of today’s workplace.

Merom Klein and Rod Napier Davies-Black Publishing
Read Summary

Model truth-telling and ask for input from others to encourage them to speak up. Create an environment of psychological safety, so colleagues don’t fear to speak; in fact, they consider it part of their job to express how they see company policies and strategies playing out. You must also have the courage to listen dispassionately to critique, be willing to consider it, and be willing to change if need be. If you want to encourage your workforce to innovate and take risks, you need to reward risk-taking. Embrace the fact that no one person is a hero; it takes a team to succeed. This, also, takes courage.

Without the need for risk, there would be no real need for courage.

Dr. Merom Klein and Dr. Rod Napier
Related Summaries in getAbstract’s Library
Image of: Truth and Courage
Report Summary

Truth and Courage

Implementing a “coaching culture” improves your business’s working environment and performance.

Douglas Riddle Center for Creative Leadership Read Summary
Image of: Return on Courage
Book Summary

Return on Courage

Find the courage to take smart risks so your firm survives the volatile, disruptive 21st century.

Ryan Berman Greenleaf Book Group Read Summary
Image of: Courage Is Calling
Book Summary

Courage Is Calling

Muster the courage required to live a virtuous life.

Ryan Holiday Profile Books Read Summary
Image of: The Courage Map
Book Summary

The Courage Map

Are you ready to unlock the courage within you and embrace a life of meaning and adventure?

Franziska Iseli TCK Read Summary
Image of: Corporate Culture
Channel

Corporate Culture

Your organization’s culture – its shared beliefs and environment – shapes its success. Corporate culture is the vessel for your employees’ engagement, productivity,…

Open Channel

Read these Journal articles for more actionable advice on how to develop your own courageous culture:

How the Journal Saves You Time
Reading Time
6 min.
Reading time for this article is about 6 minutes.
Saved Time
89 h
This article saves you up to 89 hours of research and reading time.
Researched Abstracts
21 We have curated the most actionable insights from 21 summaries for this feature.
1 1 Video
1 1 Podcast
17 We read and summarized 17 books with 4425 pages for this article.
2 2 Reports
Share this Story