What Can You Learn from Netflix?

There is some great content here!  This is not to be presented, but read.

And thought about.

Look at how this information is communicated.

Performance on this in the private sector is often poor.

Performance in public and third sectors is usually worse, in my experience, because the disconnect between espoused values and reality is often wider.

In very small businesses it is not a big issue.

But as things scale up, as middle managers and team leaders start to appear this type of issue can become ‘make or break’.

Everyone is clear on what works at Netflix.  Employees, customers and shareholders.

  • How do you communicate about culture?
  • Do words and actions match up in your organisation?
  • What can you do to improve things?

Finding time for the important but non-urgent stuff

One of the useful tools that Steven Covey gave us was his concept of Four Quadrants in relation to time management.

Covey suggested that too many of us spend too much time in quadrant 1 (urgent and important stuff) and quadrant 3 (urgent but not important).

Activity in these 2 quadrants comes to dominate working life, with the important but non-urgent stuff of quadrant 2 being relegated to off-sites and other special occasions.  And while activity in quadrants 1 and 3 keep us busy they do little to make things better.  They just help us to cope with the status quo.

One of the benefits of 121s is the opportunity that they build in to focus on a regular basis on quadrant 2 type work.  And as Covey pointed out, this is the key to excellence.

By building time for Quadrant 2 work into a regular schedule we can start to change the culture of the organisation.

Urgent - Important Matrix

Urgent – Important Matrix

What Does it Mean to be a System Leader?

There is a lot of talk at the moment about being a system leader.

But what does this actually mean?

That it is not enough to ‘just’ lead an organisation or a team, but one has to make a leadership contribution to the wider system of  which that organisation, or team, is a part.

  • It is not enough for a head teacher to lead a school well, they also should make a contribution to the leadership of the wider education system.
  • It is not enough to be a good CEO of an NHS Trust.  Your leadership has to be exercised in the wider health economy – including other providers, commissioners, adult social care, children’s services and so on.

So, what is this ‘system’ in which we are expected to exert our system leadership?  How do we find its edges? How do we define our scope?  Is it more than leadership across a value chain?

I think so, yes.

Questions like this bring me to a second meaning for a ‘system leader’ – which is more about a worldview, philosophy and practice than just about expanding the dominion of our leadership.  It is about a different way of seeing and acting as a leader.

A system leader recognises that complex adaptive systems (and any system with a human being in it IS complex and adaptive) will not respond compliantly, or as we might wish or predict, to top down leadership, management by objectives or board room strategies.  They understand the need for participation across the system in shaping the future.  They know that this is best achieved by following some guidelines which they allow to shape their practice:

  • Keep the shared purpose for which the system exists up close and personal – for everyone.
  • Make sure that the purpose of the system is primary to the purpose of the units (organisations or people) that make up the system.
  • Inclusion and participation in the process are essential – but cannot be mandated.
  • Organisations and people are free to choose.  They want to associate in pursuit of purpose – but they also seek self-expression
  • Leadership works to the extent that it provides the platform for association around purpose and honours self-expression
  • That to help the system to get better at serving its purpose you must connect the system better to itself.  Especially those parts of the system that are usually excluded.
  • It is through these connections in the system, these improved relationships,  that information and innovation will flow, accelerating the rate of progress
  • Listening and building relationships are therefore the catalyst for progress – not the imposition of a blue print, policy or ‘vision’.
  • Systems shape themselves around meanings and relationships. Change the meaning and the relationships and you have changed the system.
  • That you can’t control the development of the system, as it reacts to directives but rarely obeys them.
  • We may enforce compliance – but only by paying the price in what matters most – loyalty, commitment, passion and intelligence.
  • That there is only one system.

So for me, system leadership is a very different way of leading, that is served more by humble enquiry and the facilitation of people and organisations that care than about the imposition of change.

If you would like to develop your own practice in system leadership then please sign up here:

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Rules for Being Amazing

Risk more than is required.

Learn more than is normal.

Be strong.

Show courage.

Breathe.

Excel.

Love.

Lead.

Speak your truth.

Live your values.

Laugh.

Cry.

Innovate.

Simplify.

Adore mastery.

Release mediocrity.

Aim for genius.

Stay humble.

Be kinder than expected.

Deliver more than is needed.

Exude passion.

Shatter your limits.

Transcend your fears.

Inspire others about your bigness.

Dream big but start small.

Act now.

Don’t stop.

Change the world.

Robin Sharma