网飞创办人亲述:为什么我不要求996,还能做到市值1万多亿?

混沌大学 · 2021-01-08
厉害的公司,员工思考和做事的方式就像老板。

编者按:本文来自微信公众号“混沌大学”(ID:hundun-university),36氪经授权发布。

身为企业管理者,

你会在组建团队时拒绝10个普通程序员,只招一个要价十倍的优秀程序员吗?

你会支付每一个员工市场最高水平的薪酬吗?

你会在优秀员工自己提出涨薪要求之前,大幅度地给TA涨薪吗?

员工的工资构成,会完全不考虑绩效因素吗?

员工的差旅报销,会不设任何标准和上限、没有任何流程和监管吗?

员工可以自己决定一个价值几百万元的大单子,无需你或者TA部门领导的签字同意吗?

员工可以热衷丛林冒险,每年请假超过两个半月,且无需向你或者TA部门领导请假吗?

员工的工作日常是完成你交代的各项任务,你会把TA开掉吗?

你会和每一级员工都同步公司所有信息,包括敏感的战略和财务信息、组织架构调整、人员变动,甚至,管理层犯的关键错误吗?

大概率,你并不会这样做。

事实上,绝大多数的企业管理者都不会同意上述做法,甚至批评它们与已知的心理机制、通行的商业常识甚至普遍的人类行为大为相悖。

但是,大名鼎鼎的流媒体巨头——网飞,对上面的所有问题,都选择了“是”。

这家市值超过2000亿美元、剧集风靡全球190多个国家及地区、拥有1.93亿付费订阅用户、创造美股涨幅最高增长奇迹的公司,没有休假制度、没有差旅制度、没有经费和决策审批制度,没有追踪考核、没有绩效改进计划、没有KPI、没有OKR,甚至,没有工资级别、没有薪酬等级、没有绩效奖金……

也正是由于如此反常的管理原则,网飞深受员工追捧,在科技人才市场网站Hired.com的调查中,网飞被评为公司职员最想去工作的公司,击败了谷歌、特斯拉和苹果。

内部管理机制上,网飞崇尚自由和责任;外在表现上,网飞野心勃勃、不断进击。

二十多年来,网飞不仅成功完成从DVD邮递业务到互联网流媒体的转型,还跻身上游,与全球大型媒体公司同列,制作自己的电视剧集、原创电影和综艺节目。

从最近刷屏微博首页和朋友圈的热播剧《后翼弃兵》、到现象级神作《马男波杰克》,无论是政治权谋题材的《纸牌屋》,还是古装丧尸韩剧《李尸朝 鲜》,收视率和话题度都屡创新高。

如果说小公司做起来的关键是抓住了一个机会;中等公司的关键是有一批比较强的高管;大公司的关键是要有独特的企业文化。那网飞取得惊人成功的关键就是其充满创新性和灵活性的组织理念和企业文化。

所以在网飞,每个员工思考和做事的方式,就像老板。

最近混沌君采访了欧洲工商管理学院教授艾琳·迈耶,她与网飞创始人哈斯廷斯共同研究网飞管理原则,合著《不拘一格:网飞的自由与责任工作法》一书,书中两人利用内外部交叉的视角,完全还原了网飞的管理原则。今天就结合这本书和采访内容为大家分享一下成就2000亿美元市值公司的管理法则。

受访者 | 网飞创始人哈斯廷斯《不拘一格:网飞的自由与责任工作法》一书的合著者艾琳·迈耶 欧洲工商管理学院教授

采访者 | 冯灏 曾绍美(实习生)混沌大学商业研究团队

01 放权——员工自己决定自己的休假,以及公司的钱

每言及网飞,都要讲到网飞文化,以及著名的“自由与责任”。以企业记录者身份进入网飞、贴近观察的管理学教授艾琳·迈耶发现,这也的确是网飞员工经常挂在嘴边的两个词。

但是,外界对于网飞的各种表述中,往往过度强调前半句的“自由”——赋予员工更多自由,最大化施展他们的才华,这意味着在管理上放权,但网飞创办人哈斯廷斯却强调,不要迷失在自由的美好中而忽略了后半句的“责任”——让员工承担相应的企业责任。

两者同样重要地构成了网飞管理机制的核心。有了充满自由与责任的氛围,就可以尝试取消管控了。

放权一:取消限期休假制度

网飞高级软件工程师萨拉每周工作70~80个小时,每年要休10周假,她最近一次休假探访了巴西亚马孙丛林的亚诺玛米部落。她认为在几周紧张工作后,需要一周时间做点不同的事情放松:“重要的并不是假期长短,而是可以完全按照自己喜欢的方式安排生活。”

2003年,网飞大刀阔斧地取消了限期休假。员工自行决定上下班时间,只要愿意就不用来公司,无须请示与审批,也不用担心老板会准几天假。员工唯一需要考虑的是自己需要多长的假期:几个小时、一天、一周,还是一个月。

当时尚在雅虎公司的陆奇还清楚记得,网飞休假政策一出台,整个业界为之震动。理论上,这当然可以激励员工,带来创新效益,但具体实施中会有大量风险和挑战,很多硅谷企业都在讨论这种可能性,但绝大多数停留在纸上谈兵,只有网飞给员工彻底自由的休假时间和天数。

这一策略的逻辑基础是,创造性工作的价值不应当以工作时长衡量。

哈斯廷斯认为,很多杰出创意都是员工在放松状态下的灵光乍现,休假能够让员工身心放松,进而促进创造性思考,并以崭新姿态面对工作。如果一直不停工作,往往只会原地转圈,无法拥有全新视角。

借此,网飞希望向员工表达:公司是信任员工的,与此同时,员工要增强责任心。

在取消固定休假制度之初,也有一些人觉得自己完全自由了,选择在不适宜的时间休假,给其他同事和整体团队带来很多麻烦。所以,网飞慢慢自发形成了三条休假准则:

始终为公司最大利益行事;

绝不做任何妨碍他人实现其目标的事;

努力实现自己的目标。

自由是通往责任的一条途径。哈斯廷斯说,员工获得更多自由之后,自然就会产生归属感和责任感。

放权二:取消差旅和经费审批

产品创新总监詹妮弗·涅瓦曾在惠普任职:

2005年,我在惠普接手了一个大项目。按照公司的流程将支出审批申请输入系统,在我有权开展工作之前,一共需要获得足足20位领导的签字批准!我的上司、我上司的上司、我上司的上司的上司,还有一大串我听都没听说过的名字,甚至包括远在墨西哥瓜达拉哈拉市的采购部同事。为了让采购部签字,我不停打电话,开始是每天打,后来是每小时打。这份申请的批复拖了整整6个星期……

2009年,我加入网飞,策划了一项寄出300万份宣传手册的直邮活动,将电影剧照寄给那些之前很活跃,但最近没有使用我们服务的付费用户,整个活动大概花费100万美元。没有经过任何审批流程,只需要我自己签个字,传真给供应商就可以了。

随着一个快速灵活的初创企业发展成熟,往往会随之建立一套完整的财务监管体系,要求员工提供各种申请,企业则依靠层层审批控制支出。在网飞看来,这不仅会打击员工积极性,还会失去低规则环境的速度和灵活性。

哈斯廷斯这样描述自己的想象:数百名员工都像渴望蓝天的小鸟,但公司却用大捆的胶带缠住他们的翅膀,除了向公司政策低头,别无选择。即使是完全正确的事,却一直拖拉,甚至最终导致最后做不成,员工产生无能为力的挫败感。

“我不希望公司任何人在毫无意义的讨论上浪费时间,更不希望有才华的员工被愚蠢的规章制度困扰,破坏他们的奇思妙想和创造力”,哈斯廷斯说,“网飞需要的是,用你认为最合适的方式,花别人的钱以最快速度购买对你和你的工作最有益的东西”。

在网飞,员工可以直接采购,然后将收据拍照上传到系统,等候报销即可,不需要常规所必须的填写提交申请、等候上级批复等流程要求。

但是,任由员工以他们想要的方式花公司的钱,并且不需要任何审批程序,公司很可能因此破产。网飞摸索出了事前情景设定,事后核实报销的工作方法。

在新员工入职培训中,首席财务官韦尔斯会预设第一轮情景:

在你花一笔钱之前,想象一下,你如何站在我和你的上司面前,解释你选择这次航班、预订这家酒店或者购买这部电话的原因。如果此时,你可以给出完全满足公司利益的解释,那么别犹豫,直接做就好;但如果支持你做出这项决定的理由不够充分,那么先别花这笔钱,跟你的领导交流一下或者试试更便宜的选择。

这就是所谓的“事前预设情景”。

此外,为了避免不合理消费,每个月末,财务部会将该部门每位员工当月提交的报销发票汇总后发送给经理,经理可以选择对每笔开销进行具体审核,考量每位员工的具体情况;也可以将所有收据信息全部提交给内部审计部门,让他们核查是否存在公费滥用的情况。

这就是所谓的“事后核实报销”。

通常情况下,当员工发现领导会在事后监督开支,就不大可能试探公司底线,尽可能精打细算。而财务审计部门每年会抽查其中的10%,如果存在欺骗,将立即开除。

哈斯廷斯说,“自由与责任”理念的核心,就是如果有人滥用自由,就必须受到严厉惩罚。这样,其他员工才会引以为戒,否则,自由将毫无意义。你告诉员工你相信他们,员工也会向你表明,他们值得你信任。

放权三:无须决策审批

2015年,网飞还不提供下载服务,也就是说,没有网络就无法观看网飞的节目,但此时,亚马逊Prime、YouTube都开放了相关功能。

身居高位的首席产品官尼尔·亨特极力反对下载服务开发,他认为互联网发展将更为迅速,普及程度更高,下载功能的实用程度只会继续下降;耗费大量时间精力,还会影响公司改进流媒体质量。亨特认为,“你得首先记得下载;下载需要时间;你还得选择合适的存储方式并进行管理。”

总裁哈斯廷斯也认为,对于1%的下载使用率而言,没有必要把用户体验搞得那么复杂。那些支持下载的竞争对手可能会在这里耗上几年,而网飞的服务更具品质感。

但时任公司产品副总裁托德·耶林(亨特的下属)却对此表示怀疑,他进行了一番调查,以验证两位领导的主张是否正确。

调研结果是:在美国,15~20%的亚马逊Prime用户会使用下载服务,远高于哈斯廷斯预测的1%。另外,在印度,超过70%的YouTube用户会使用下载功能。即使德国,互联网也不如美国普及和稳定。

根据充分的市场调研,而非金字塔式决策的结果是,网飞最终上线了下载功能,并得到很好运用。

毫无疑问,人们都喜欢充分自由、自己做主的工作,指导员工一言一行的微观管理模式早已过时,“纳米级经理”往往被认为“专横”、“独裁”。但在大多数企业里,无论给予员工多少自主权,让他们自己设定目标、实现自己的理念,几乎所有员工都还是会认为:老板有责任防止员工做出愚蠢的决策,减少资金和资源的浪费。

网飞高层很少参与具体事务的决定,相反,一直在努力培养员工独立的决策能力。哈斯廷斯说,“我们不希望员工因为上司的否定而放弃任何一个好主意。工作目的不在于取悦老板,而在于对公司有利。”

他认为,网飞成功的秘诀,就在于员工拥有极大的自主权,能够自行决定决策的实施而无须上司的批准(但需要让上司知晓)。

他建议不敢放手的老板问自己四个问题:

  • 他是否是一名优秀的员工?

  • 你是否相信他具有良好的判断力?

  • 你是否认为他能给公司带来利益?

  • 他是否能胜任你团队的工作?

如果回答通通是否定的,那么应该开除他;如果答案是肯定的,那么就不要干涉,把决定权交给他就好。当老板放弃“决策审批者”这一身份,公司业务发展会更加迅速,员工创新能力也会增强。

而掌握自主权的员工可以参考网飞的如下步骤:

1.收集异议或者交流想法

想要实施一个令自己心动的好主意,可以创建一个共享备忘录,先阐述自己的方案,然后分享给几十位同事看一看。同事可以在文档的空白处留下赞成或反对的意见,这些意见所有人都能看得到。有时候,提出方案的员工会附上一张电子表格,邀请大家对该方案从–10到+10评分,并附上原因。

当然,这并不是投票或民主选举,你也不用把所有的数字加起来求均值,但收集坦诚的反馈意见,意味着对自己的想法进行压力测试并收集到大量数据点。

越积极地收集异议,越倡导公开表达异议,公司做出的决策就越好。这一点适用于所有公司,无论是什么行业,有多大的规模。

对于不是特别重要的方案,无须四处奔波收集异议,但最好让公司其他同事知道你在做什么,掂量一下可行性。交流也是收集异议的一种方式,但这种方式重在收集,而非异议本身。

2.对重大决策进行彻底检验

大多数成功的公司都会进行很多市场调查,以了解客户偏好及其背后原因,并据此确定公司战略。网飞的不同在于,即使负责人完全反对,调查论证也会继续进行,上面网飞的下载服务就是一例。

3.知情指挥要大胆下注

共识最终要落实在决策上,每一项重要决策都会有一位“知情指挥”,该负责人拥有完全的决策自由。当然,他也需要对最终结果负全部责任。作为知情指挥,独立签署合同就是承担责任的一种表现。

有员工表示,“我将为我的上司、我上司的上司、我上司的上司的上司、为整个网飞做决定,且不需要经过他人批准。在我心里,责任与担忧交织在一起,这也促使我更加努力地工作,确保我签署的每一份合同都能为公司带来收益。”

4.庆祝成功,正视失败

如果下属的方案成功了,作为上司,你必须做的一件事就是公开表示祝贺,因为在你否定了他的方案之后,他还能坚持自己的想法。另外,你还要明确承认:“你是对的,我错了。”借此告诉其他员工可以反驳上司。

  • 如果方案失败了,给予正确的回应显得更加重要。比如询问员工从中获得哪些经验教训、不要一直抓着员工的失误不放、告诉员工学会正视失败等。

02 坦诚——360度的透明

每周五,网飞在停车场举行全体会议——那里是公司唯一可以容纳全体员工的地方。把财务报表发给大家,然后一起浏览每周指标的变化。比如:发了几批货,平均收益是多少;怎样做才能满足顾客需求,让网飞电影成为首选。而战略文档——里面写满了不想让竞争对手知道的信息,就张贴在咖啡机旁的公告牌上。

哈斯廷斯说,“我不想让我的员工觉得自己是在为网飞工作,而希望他们感觉自己是网飞的一分子”。这其实是无关痛痒的前半句,几乎每一个管理者都会说,但他接着说,“即使,这对于网飞和员工都意味着风险”。

职场总是充斥着秘密,尤其是位于办公区域最深处的高层办公室门后,似乎总有很多“不能说”。员工的角度只是觉得寒心,“尽管我工作兢兢业业,但管理者并不信任我,他们有一些对我讳莫如深的大秘密”。

  • 而管理者的纠结在于,分享这些信息可能破坏关系、引起慌乱,甚至带来危机,比如你在考虑机构重组,可能有员工会因此失业。再比如,你有“商业秘籍”,不想透露给竞争对手。

  • 但网飞的做法是坚持分享所有信息。网飞认为,自己的团队都是“成年人”,那些可以独立处理复杂信息的人、那些理解自由意味着更大责任的人。

同时,财务和战略信息的同步,还可以最大限度地发挥员工的才华和能力。

如果经理不知道公司在过去几周或者几个月里签下了多少客户,进行过哪些战略讨论,那么他又怎么知道自己该雇多少人呢?他就必须得去问他的上司;如果他的上司也不清楚公司发展的具体细节,无法决策,那他的上司又不得不再去找上司的上司。

所以,越多员工了解公司的战略财务状况以及每天的运营,就越能够自行做出正确的决策,也不必牵扯那么多的层级关系。

这种全方位的坦诚和透明还体现在绩效评估上。

大多数公司采用年度绩效考核——老板列出员工的优势和不足,根据员工的整体绩效评定等级,然后对员工进行一对一的考核确认。这样的反馈是单向的,即上级对下级的评估,与网飞“不要试图取悦老板”的理念相冲突,此外,网飞也没有量化的年度目标或是关键绩效指标。

经过多次实验,网飞摸索出一套与坦诚透明的企业文化相一致的反馈方法。

坦诚一:360度书面反馈

  • 每个人都会尽可能地给不同岗位上的同事提出反馈,而不局限于直接下属、直线经理或者请求给予反馈的同事。

  • 不评定等级,结果与升职加薪没有任何关联。

  • 反馈后进行一系列有价值的讨论。

  • 不匿名。

高层与直系下属系统地分享收到的意见,中层又与他们的团队分享他们得到的反馈,层层分享,依此类推。不仅可以增强公司内部的透明度,也形成一种“反向负责制”。

坦诚二:360度面对面反馈

共进晚餐是了解人际动态的有效途径,可以提高集体的工作效率,每位团队成员都以全新方式认识内部分歧,增进团队协作。

“360 度面对面”的活动往往需要几个小时的时间,在晚餐时间开展比较适宜(至少包括一顿晚餐);此外,每次参加活动的人数不宜过多(8人为宜)。

所有反馈都应被视作一份礼物,而且必须是切实可行的;遵照4A 反馈准则。正面的鼓励和支持(即“继续……”类的反馈),占到 25%;改进型的反馈(“开始……”类和“停止……”类反馈)应该占到 75%;尽量避免不具操作性的泛泛而谈(比如“我觉得你真的是个很好的同事” )。

在晚餐餐桌上,当着所有人的面,把“你需要改进的地方”一点一点地指出来是一种什么感觉,可能还是恐惧和忧虑,但这种方式的确可以显著提高业绩。

03 精英——底层原则

网飞将“人才密度”作为企业创新能力的内核。

在网飞,大多数工作都需要依靠员工的创新和创造力。对于创造性的工作,最优秀员工的工作效率可以轻轻松松地高出普通员工10倍以上,而优秀人才能继续激励其他优秀人才。

作为领导者,首要目标是营造一个完全由优秀员工组成的工作环境,这些人背景不同,看问题角度各异,但有一个共同特点:超凡的创新能力,能够完成繁重任务,并能相互协作。

哈斯廷斯说,必须首先确保人才密度落实到位,否则其他原则没有意义。

比尔·盖茨经常说:“一名优秀车工的工资是普通车工的好几倍;而一名优秀程序员写出来的代码比普通程序员写出来的要贵上一万倍。”这些数字并非空穴来风,早在1968年,软件行业就提出了“精英原则”,给9名程序员布置同一个任务,要求他们在两小时内完成一系列编码调试任务,最好的比最差的编程速度快20倍、调试速度快25倍、程序执行速度快10倍。

这个道理并不仅限于编程,而是可以推及所有创造性工作。

精英原则一:不设绩效奖金

网飞的做法是:相较于10~25位水平一般的员工,不如聘用一位精英,支付行业最高薪资,而且不必设置绩效奖金。

一是因为,奖金制度的前提,是可以对未来做出可靠预测。但是,在网飞以及其他创业企业,必须能够迅速调整方向,以应对飞速变化。

举例来说,如果今年目标是营业利润提高5%,那么员工就必须专注于提高利润;但如果考虑未来五年的竞争力,可能需要改变方向,意味着增加投资、增加风险,当年的利润率可能降低,股票价格也可能下跌。

这意味着员工在12月实现自己同年1月设定的目标,才会获得丰厚年终奖金的做法,只会变相鼓励员工行为偏向稳妥,这也是大公司创新乏力的原因之一。

二是,拿出更多金钱摆在优秀员工面前,并不意味着他们就会更加卖力地工作。

无论是否有奖金摆在面前,绩效高的人都会自觉地追求成功,竭尽全力做好工作。前德意志银行首席执行官约翰·克莱恩说:“我不知道为什么要签订一份含有奖金的合同,我不会因为有人给我的奖金多就更加努力,也不会因为给我的奖金少就松懈下来。”

不仅克莱恩,MIT进行过一项有趣的研究,要求本科生完成一项认知技能任务(加总数字)和一项机械技能任务(尽可能快地敲击键盘),根据表现提供高额(600美元)或低额奖金(60美元)。结果,机械技能任务的奖金越高、表现越高,但认知任务则出乎意料:奖金越高,表现越差。

研究人员认为,创造性工作要求解放大脑,如果总想着要怎么做才能得到高额奖金,就会缺少开放的认知空间,产生最好想法和创意的可能性也微乎其微,结果反倒做得更差。

哈斯廷斯认为,有利于激发创造力的,是足够高的工资,而非绩效奖金。

精英原则二:保持市场最高

网飞公关总监若昂的经历是这样的:

网飞给我开的工资是上份工作的三倍,工作头一年,我就没想过上调工资的事。但入职九个月后,领导突然和我说,要上调23%的工资,以保持市场最高,你能想象我的惊讶吗?

网飞不仅一开始就支付员工高薪,并且薪水还会随着市场供需不断上涨,以保证他们始终获得业界最高。

大多数公司以“加薪池”和“工资等级”来决定工资涨幅,难以反映员工真实的市场价值,只能通过跳槽涨薪。市场调研表明,如果留在原公司,员工平均每年工资上涨3%左右;而如果放弃原工作跳槽,工资平均涨幅将达到10~20%。这样来看,一直待在同一家公司,似乎是没什么“钱途”的。

保持市场最高工资是一笔惊人开销,甚至可能拖至公司破产。但唯有如此,才能在高绩效的环境里年复一年地吸引和留住市场上最优秀的人才。在员工开口要求涨工资之前、在员工开始找其他工作之前,主动把工资涨上去。

如果没有办法维持最高薪资,那就需要通过裁员降低成本,而不是削减精英员工的工资。

此外,网飞大概是唯一一家公开鼓励员工去跟竞争对手交谈,甚至去面试的公司。

“市场对人才的需求在持续升温,你们将会不断接到猎头的电话,可能是亚马逊、苹果和脸书。如果不确定自己所得是非行业最高,你们可以通过猎头弄清楚在那些公司可以拿到多少钱。如果发现他们工资更高,请告诉我们。”

网飞甚至为此建立了一个数据库,所有人都可以往里面输入自己通过电话和面试获取的数据。网飞的规则是,当猎头打电话给你,在说“不用了,谢谢”之前,先问一句:“多少钱?

精英原则三:企业不是家庭

在网飞,重大问题的决策权分散在不同层级,这意味着需要最高的人才密度,所有人必须全力以赴应对所有挑战。

这一阶段,网飞的建议是——如果有把握招到一名更优秀的员工,那就果断辞掉当前的员工。这很困难,因为在职员工也很优秀,但无论人员调整的决定有多么艰难,都要保证每个岗位都是最好的员工。

网飞希望每个人都感觉自己是公司的一份子;但同时,不希望员工故步自封、停下学习的脚步,因为这无异于让位给他人:只要有人做得比你好,你就要离开。

网飞鼓励管理者借助“员工留任测试”定期对员工进行考核:

如果有人打算明天辞职,你会不会劝他改变主意?

还是说你会接受他的辞呈,甚至感觉是松了一口气?

如果是后面一种情况,可以立刻发遣散费,然后寻找一名你想要的精英。

考虑支撑基本家庭开支,网飞会支付丰厚的遣散费用,一般员工是4个月薪水,副总裁为9个月。

毫无疑问,员工留任测试提高了人才密度,但同时也导致了员工的焦虑,害怕被踢出队伍。为了将办公室的恐惧情绪降到最低,网飞采用两种方法:

1.员工留任提示

鼓励具有恐惧心理的员工尽快与上司进行一对一谈话,直接问:“如果我想要辞职,你会花多大力气劝我改变主意?”

你有可能得到三种答案:

你的上司说他会全力挽留你,那么担心就是不必要的;

你的上司有犹豫,他会就你如何提升工作能力进行详细反馈,接下来要做的就是根据建议提高绩效;

你的上司认为他可能不会挽留,你的绩效水平远没有达到他的心理预期,那么你需要借这个机会反思,所掌握的技能是否真的适合这份工作。

2.解雇后、打开灯

如果谁的名字从公司名单中被划掉,其他员工最想知道的就是公司是怎样做出的决定、被辞掉的员工事前收到多少警告,这时候最好的做法就是把灯打开,照亮一切不为人知的东西,以清晰思维和坦诚态度扫掉所有不安。

04 结语

网飞文化的核心是“人才重于流程,创新高于效率,自由多于管控”,而其基础是创造力需要自由,但自由又不能被滥用。因此,提高人才密度、引入坦诚文化、取消各种管控,三者环环相扣、互相促进,并通过三个阶段螺旋式提升。

“一旦提高了人才密度,就可以放心地提出坦诚的问题;然后,才可以逐步取消管控员工的种种规则”, 网飞创办人哈斯廷斯给出建议,唯有放在三螺旋完整而自洽的体系内,才能理解本文开头网飞看似反常的做法。

几个世纪以来,“规则与流程”一直是大多数组织机构所采用的管理模式,或许,对于特定机构而言,这仍然是未来若干年的最佳模式。但是,当今信息时代,知识产权和创意服务不断增长,依赖于发明和创新的经济比例只会越来越高,依然遵循工业革命时代主导财富创造的管理模式,是危险的。

因为工业时代的目标是差异最小化,但当今的创意企业追求的却是差异最大化,此时,最大的风险不是犯错误或失去一致性,而是当环境变化时,无法吸引到顶级人才,发明不出新的产品,或不能及时改变方向。

此时的一致性和可重复性可能会压制新思维,而不是为公司带来利润。很多小错误有时会令人感到痛苦,但可以帮助一个组织快速地学习成长;同时,小错误也是创新周期的关键环节。

网飞选择了“自由与责任”的企业文化,或许你的企业也可以,以更靠近混乱边缘的方式,追求创造力、速度和敏捷度。

05 混沌君问了艾琳·迈耶教授几个问题

1.混沌君:您认为网飞的管理原则在中国的适用性如何?

迈耶:今年十一月,我在阿里商学院做了一个讲座,面对的受众就是中国企业家。其实,关于书中的理念能否适应中国特殊的营商环境,我心中也有很多疑问。但在那一次分享中,不少企业家表示了兴趣,甚至已经开始在自己的公司实践。当然,也有另一些人,觉得这些理念过于激进,在中国完全行不通。

总体而言,在美国生活和学习过的企业家、经营范围在高科技领域和创新领域、体量更小的企业,对这一套更为跃跃欲试;相反,更为传统的中国企业,会说,“我永远不会那样做”。

我觉得,这些文化对于中国当然相当陌生,但是,并非完全无可借鉴。

2.混沌君:“996”在中国的互联网公司非常普遍,同属于竞争激烈的行业,网飞有完全不同的工时原则。哈斯廷斯对于这些中国企业评价如何?

迈耶:谈论“996”,我更愿意举日本网飞的例子。在日本,人们告诉我,以前工作的时候,他们需要乘坐清晨的第一班列车上班、凌晨的最后一班列车下班,其中一位员工说,她六年来只休过一次假,就是她姐姐的婚礼。但在日本网飞,员工可以自己选择假期,网飞甚至鼓励人们在家,以及自己喜欢的地方工作。入职网飞,意味着工作生活可以有机会平衡。

不容忽视的是,有的文化环境下,人们有时候会过度加班,这个时候就需要管理方法的创新了。哈斯廷斯每年休假六周左右,而且他常常挂在嘴边,几乎每一次领导层会议展示之前,他都会从上次度假的照片开始讲起,让员工们知道,“这家公司,我们鼓励员工休假”。

要让员工富于创造力,必须让他们有自己的时间,一直没有间隙地工作是难以看到创造灵光的。而网飞在日本的发展证明,即使是完全不同的文化环境,网飞给予的更多自由依然有其用武之地。

3.混沌君:以您在网飞那么长时间的观察,您对于公司和员工的总体看法是什么?

迈耶:我不得不说,虽然被给予了很多自由,但网飞员工对于工作非常投入、工作时间很长,甚至可能导致自发自愿的“996”。如果你被给予了很多自由,你知道自己的声誉将建基于如何处理被给予的自由,很多时候,你会更长时间地投入工作,在网飞就是这样。由于被赋予做事的权力,人们对工作的投入极大。

4.混沌君:网飞做法中最受争议的是哪一部分,您如何回应这些质疑?

迈耶:争议非常大!尤其是其中有关工作保障的部分。因为我们生活在工业时代,好的雇主是提供工作保障的,会说我们照顾你、照顾你的家庭、保障你的下一个三十年,只要你忠诚付出,我们也会忠诚回报。

但是,网飞提供了一个完全不同的崭新雇佣模式,这个模式是——你来这里工作,我们给予你更大的自由,但是,即使你做得很好,公司依然需要持续判断:你是否适合这里?有的时候,公司会做出决定,你不适合!

采访我的每一个记者都会问:这不是很残忍吗?这不会创造一种内部竞争的文化吗?不,我不这样认为,我认为这只是一种不同以往的工作方式,而且,我认为未来我们会看到更多这样的公司,建基于更频繁的人员流动,从而使得组织更加灵活、更富创新。

5.混沌君:自由以及相应的责任会不会给员工带来过大的压力?

迈耶:自由的确意味着压力,但我认为这是任何一个成年人都应该为自己做出的选择。写这本书的三年,也是我一生中压力最大的时期,部分原因就是因为哈斯廷斯给了我很大的自由,他说我可以以自己认为正确的任何方式完成这本书。我不断想,这可能会失败、会是灾难、会在半夜三点醒来开始写作……这不是因为哈斯廷斯告诉我,我必须工作,而是因为我有机会做一件大事,而不想浪费这个珍贵的机会。

我们不应该看低任何一个员工,他们本可以拥有更大的梦想和成就伟业的机会和潜力。

6.混沌君:这听上去太口号了,没有工作保障难道不会带来过多情绪内耗和管理内耗吗?

迈耶:当然,如果公司文化是在不断宣扬,“你随时会失去你的工作!”工作日常还会收到大量的负面反馈,人们将不可避免地陷入冷漠、自私和漠不关心。

但我要诚实地告诉你,网飞不是这样的。相反,我从来没有见过中高层会花如此多的时间帮助基层员工获得成功。网飞的管理模式是,老板是树干,工作就是创造滋养树木的土壤,而非传统模式中金字塔结构中的塔顶。我认为,强调这一点至关重要。

如何营造这种工作氛围,老板要知道高绩效员工需要什么——他们需要在成功时得到赞赏,需要得到协作,需要感觉自己正被最好的同事包围,共同成就伟大的事业。中高层的责任正是创造这样的环境,而不是不断监管员工的绩效、给他们过多的压力。

很多人只看到表面,没注意到内核,如果仅仅只有压力的部分,没有任何人才会想要在网飞工作,那将是一个多么可怕、过度竞争的环境啊!

7.混沌君:有没有一些具体的例子,说明管理者如何创建一个助力成长的工作环境?

迈耶:在网飞,管理者的工作不是做决策,而是为真正做决策的员工做好一系列的准备。

首先,管理者会在员工进入公司之初提供一些决策筹码,就好像赌场一样,而且并不指望这些决策筹码都能为公司带来收益,正相反,如果都是收益只能说明你还不够冒险,重要的是从失败中吸取教训。你不会因为决策失败而丢掉工作。

第二,在员工决策的每一步,管理者都会提供大量、及时的反馈。职场的很多人都有体会,管理者经常出于种种原因不给反馈,但网飞的管理者会在每一个需要的时刻出现,告诉你合适的资源、人力、我的建议意见,并放手最终的决定。

我认为,本书最重要的信息是,如果你想要创新,就必须承受失败,这恰恰是创新的一部分。

8.混沌君:因为新冠疫情,很多企业被迫选择在家办公,这给网飞的企业文化带来什么变化吗?您如何看待灵活工作方式的未来发展?

迈耶:我觉得这其实很讽刺。今年9月,《华尔街日报》对哈斯廷斯进行了一次有趣的采访,记者问他,疫情期间在家工作,让员工在他们想工作的时间和地点自由工作,会有什么好处吗?

哈斯廷斯的回答是,没有任何好处!此后,变成了各种头版头条,网飞创办人说,灵活办公没有任何好处!

这实际上是一种误读。在网飞,员工本来就可以在他们想工作的时候工作、想在哪里工作就在哪里工作。所以,哈斯廷斯的意思,只是疫情期间灵活办公减少了会面讨论的机会而已,报纸们都误解了他的意思。

我相信,在未来,很多公司都会从新冠期间学到些什么,灵活和自由,不会让员工懈怠,只会提高工作的积极性和创造力。

9.混沌君:与哈斯廷斯相处那么久,他最迷人的部分是什么,可否和我们分享一下书籍背后的故事?

迈耶:哈斯廷斯是一个非常谦虚的人,甚至,谦虚都不是正确的词。他是个非常自嘲的人。当然,他有很大的权力。大多数权势之人都有不经意的显摆,但哈斯廷斯恰恰相反,他竭尽所能让自己感觉和看起来像个普通人。他最初和我联系,写了这样一封邮件:“嗨,艾琳,我和你一样曾经在非洲做过志愿者呢,现在,我在一家科技公司网飞工作,我的名字叫里德”,他非常努力做一个普通人。

有一个有趣的故事。为了这本书,我第二或者第三次和他会面是在比利时,我们一起在森林里散步,共处了6-8个小时。后来,他坐火车去了荷兰,那天晚上,他发短信给我,短信上说:“艾琳,太尴尬了,我都没发现,这一整天,我的衬衫都穿反了!”说实话,我并没有注意到他反穿的衬衫,但他就随随便便地自己调侃起来,让你觉得很亲切。

同时,他也非常强势,尤其是面临重要决策的时候。

当然,你可以说,他强势的时候总是对的,早在1996年,他就先见性地预见到了流媒体时代即将来临。但是,他既然在网飞鼓吹分散决策,就要避免固执己见。在网飞,每个人都敢与顶撞他,但他对于自己的重大决策,也会非常固执、强势地捍卫。

以下为混沌大学采访原文

MEYER INTERVIEW

HUNDUN U: I will start off with a very common but necessary question, what is your original intention of writing? 

MS MEYER: I was interested in writing this book when I came across Netflix and noticed that they were doing something that was interesting in the world. They had managed to create a corporate culture, that I felt was “the corporate culture for the future”. So the corporate culture showed companies and helped companies to be more innovative and more flexible to change directions with more agility. Because of that, I saw that entrepreneurs and leaders around the world could replicate what they were doing. So my goal in writing the book was to give readers these strange and sometimes shocking new ideas about how to run a business with the hope that they actually might find use of them. I kind of always thought of the book is how-to manual, more than some kind of history of Netflix. That was my goal, to help business leaders around the world.

HUNDUN U: How about its Chinese readers? Do you have any specific ideas for those Chinese entrepreneurs?

MS MEYER: I ran a session on November at Alibaba Business School. So I did something over zoom for them and then did questions and answers. And there were entrepreneurs who were running companies in China. I had a lot of questions in my own mind about whether those the ideas from the book could be applied in a Chinese environment. I was just very interested to see that many of the entrepreneurs who were attending that class felt that they could and were actually trying to use them already. Now others, I should say, no, these ideas will never work in China. These ideas are too radical, too different than what we're used to doing here. They're too foreign to Chinese culture. So I do think it's quite different how Chinese companies are normally run, but I do certainly think there are lessons that can be applied in China also.

HUNDUN U: Do you have any specific entrepreneur or any company in your mind that they mention the principle as too radical, or any specific one who are eager to apply Netflix’s corporate culture?

MEYER: Actually, I don't know because there were like 200 students when I saw them and I didn't know which companies they were working for. I just saw their faces with their names. I don't even know who they were. 

But it's normal that people who are the entrepreneurs who had lived and studied in the US and those who were running High-Tech companies, or smaller companies that were working in quite innovative spaces are the companies which were feeling like I'm already trying to do these things or I'm gonna get started right away. Whereas there are more traditional companies that have been around for a long time and operate in a traditional Chinese way. Of course they would say that they could never do those things.

HUNDUN U: Recently, Pinduoduo, an e-commerce company is widely criticized because of a young employee’s death and her long working hours. Long working hours is commonly practiced among China’s tech companies. The so-called 996 office schedule -- 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week, plus overtime -- has sparked social media backlash and criticism among the workers in previous years. Netflix is also in the same business, an intensely competitive industry. What is your judgment toward Chinese companies, and do Mr. Hastings ever comment on Netflix’s Chinese rivals, not in the aspect of business model, but corporate culture?

MEYER: I never spoke to Reed about Netflix in China, because Netflix is not in China. So, this is not the answer to your question but I will mention as you're talking about 996 that it was very interesting in Netflix in Japan because I think if you have 996 in China, then traditionally in Japan, I guess they have what like 6:00 am till midnight, 7 days a week, right? The Japanese are famous for working these crazy long hours and that was very interesting because in Japan Netflix, people told me these stories about. At their old job, they took the first train in the morning and then they took the last train home just before midnight. One of them told me that she has taken only one vacation in 6 years and that was to go to her sister's wedding. But now at Netflix, where they have the freedom to choose the vacation they can take and people are encouraged to work from home or wherever they like. They were living normal working life. I do find that very interesting that some of the freedom that Netflix is offering was really breaking the mold in countries like Japan. But we don't have a China model to look at because we don't have Netflix in China yet.

This whole thing about people will be driven to work a lot. if they are given freedom, they recognize I'm here to make lots of decisions. Some of them will work and some of them will fail and I will be judged on how I do overall. People will be driven to work hard, maybe too hard. Because of that, then the modeling of the management becomes so important. I go back to the fact that Reed takes 6 weeks of vacation a year. But he's always talking about it. So whenever you meet him, he's always like I wanna show you the photos from the last vacation I was on when he gives her presentation at their leadership meetings, he always starts by showing pictures of his last vacation. He does that in order to show employees. Here at this company, we take vacation. Then the expectation is that the managers under him will also take 6 weeks of vacation a year in order to encourage people throughout the company to take a vacation. Probably the lowest level people will not take 6 weeks because at least they'll take three if the boss is modeling six。

So I think that's also something important. You don't want your employees. I that was a clear message that I think we can learn about creativity from Netflixis that if you want your employees to be really creative,they have to take time off. They're working all the time. They're not gonna come up with the most creative innovations because innovation lays in a space of freedom. If we're working all the time, then even if we have freedom, we don't feel free.

HUNDUN U: And you’ve spent so many hours in Netflix and talking with Mr. Hastings. What's your overall perception towards the company and the people working there?

MEYER: Despite what I said about Japan that people do work a lot in that company, it's a high adrenaline company. But people have a lot of freedom. So if you're given a lot of freedom and you know that your reputation will be built on how well you do with the freedom that's given to you, it may lead you to feel like you're so invested that you're going to work a lot. I do see people in the Netflix are extremely invested in their work because they've been so empowered to do whatever they believe is right. And it might lead to 996 but it's their own choice.

HUNDUN: Netflix's practices are against psychology, commercial logic and human behavior. Has anyone ever questioned the ideas and working style in the book? How do you respond to those challenges? 

MEYER: All the time! So I think that the biggest controversy of the book is this whole not offering employees job security. That's a very different paradigm ,that's a very new paradigm for us because we are living in this industrial era hang over. During the industrial era, employment was for life and the companies who were really good employers were the ones who offered job security, who said we take care of you, we take care of your families, you can come here and work to the next three decades as long as you're loyal and committed, then we will be loyal and committed to you.

I do believe it's quite shocking to find a company that is operating in a different model. The model is you come here, we give you a huge amount of freedom. You do your very best work and frequently we'll decide whether we want to keep you on the team or not. Sometimes we won't, so everyone pushes back on it, everyone does. Every journalist I talk to says, isn't this cruel? Doesn't this create a culture of internal competitiveness? I don't think it's cruel. I think that it's just a different type of working than we're used to, and I think in the future we will see more these kind of companies that are set up where people come in and move out based on what's happening at that moment in the organization, because companies need to be increasingly flexible.

HUNDUN U: Don’t you think that may bring too much stress?

MEYER: It is a lot of stress to have a lot of freedom. But I think that's a choice any adult should be able to make for themselves. I feel like now writing the book myself was by far the most stressful period of my life. Those 3 years of writing that book. Partially it was so stressful because Reed gave me so much freedom to write that book in any way I thought was right. But throughout the book, I had moments of thinking this is going to fail, it’s going to be a disaster. I would wake up in the middle of the night at 3:00 am and think get back to work and it wasn't because he was telling me I had to work. It was because I had been given such an amazing opportunity to accomplish something enormous. I didn't want to waste that opportunity. 

I don't think we should shield our employees from having the ability to dream big and accomplish great things just because there's a stress associated with it.

HUNDUN U: That’s more like a motto to me. Won’t lacking of job security brings an over competitive environment?

MEYER: So of course, the worry is that if you have a company that preaches is adequate performance gets a generous salary, people know when I come to work at this company, I'm going to lose my job if I don't do a great work. If you have a culture of candor, of a culture people giving one another a lot of feedback the worry is that you could easily fall into a very unpleasant work environment. You could easily fall into a place where people are uncaring, cold, everyone's looking out for themselves. 

I will tell you honestly that is not the case in the Netflix. On the contrary, I've never seen managers who spend so much time trying to help their employees succeed. Because of the model of management at Netflix being, the boss is at the soil, at the roots of the tree, creating the soil that nurtures the trees, instead of that the boss is the gatekeeper at the top of the pyramid. So I think it's really important to emphasize that in order to create this type of atmosphere, everyone has to be focused on what do high performers need.

So high performing employees, they need to feel appreciation when they succeed, they need to feel collaboration, they need to feel like they're surrounded by the best and everybody is working together to achieve great things together. It's the manager's responsibility to create that environment. Knowing that already it's stressful for people to recognize that if they're not successful, that they're not going toa have their jobs anymore. I do think that's an important message because I could see how someone would take just the exterior of the message of the book and create some kind of horrible place to work for or no top performer would want to work.

HUDUN U: Any specific examples about how they are ensuring a caring enough environment?

MEYER: The boss's job at Netflix is not to make a decision. Their job is to hire the best people, to prepare the best people and to set the context for those employees to work well. What that means is that they have to care enough to dare to give a lot of feedback throughout the process. I think that it's easy for managers to not give feedback. It's easy to say I'm just going to keep quiet. But what I saw Netflix is that the managers really felt that it was their responsibility to give the employees feedback every step of the way in order to make sure that they could succeed. 

And I think also with that, of course, when you say I have to make all the decisions, remember that their system is set up in two ways. So one is that when you join the company, the manager is likely to say to you, I'm giving you a set of betting chips, like you are the casino, right? You should use these chips to make decisions to bet on whatever you think are the initiative that will lead to the company's success. I'm going to help you place those bets. So I'm going to encourage I'm going to tell you who to talk to. I'm going to help you get all of the advice and input and ideas. And I'm going to tell you what I think, too. But ultimately, you are the one who places those chips you decide what taking in all of to account and all the information ,you decide what you think is going to move the company forward. This is the really important part. But I don't expect all of those chips to succeed. In fact, if all of those chips are successes, you're not taking enough risk. My assumption is a manager is that some of those chips that you place will lead to successful bets. Some of those chips that you place will lead to fail bets. The failed bets I expect you to talk about what you learned from it so that we can all learn from those failures. So then as you know an employee, it's okay for me to try things out that don't work.

I actually think that in some ways is the most important message from the book is that if you want innovation, you have to fail failure as part of the process. You won't get fired because of that failed.

HUNDUN U: Because of COVID-19, many enterprises choose new style of working, does this bring any change to Netflix’s corporate culture? How do you see the future development of flexible working style?

MEYER: I think it's actually ironic. There was this funny interview that was conducted with Reed Hastings with the Wall Street Journal. A journalist asked him in September, what's the benefits of COVID-19? What's the benefits of working at home? Actually, there are lots of benefits to giving employees freedom to work when they want and where they want, right? Their employees are actually do a better job when they are where they want. But because in Netflix people always could work when they wanted and where they wanted, Reed didn't feel there was any benefit. He said there's no benefit. He said there's no benefit and that was the headline all over, CEO of Netflix says no benefit to working from home. But it was a misunderstanding because Netflix employees always can work from home. So, he was saying there was no benefit to NOT being able to come together, which was just a loss. So I do believe that in the future, many companies are learning from this COVID moment that in fact, when they give employees the freedom to work, when they want, where they want, how they want, then actually they do a better job instead of a worse job. Therefore they're learning a little bit of the lessons that Netflix has already learned little bit of the lessons that we talk about in the book.

HUNDUN U: What’s the most charming/ attractive part and the most annoying part of Mr. Reed Hastings? Would you like to share some of the stories behind the book?

MEYER: He is a very humble person. Humble is not the right word. He's a very self-deprecating person. Of course, he has a lot of power. Most people with a lot of power, they kind of throw their power around. But Reed does the opposite, he does everything he can in order to make himself feel and seem like just a regular person. In the book,I talked about how he originally contacted me, that I got this email from him and the email said ,“Hi, Erin, I was in the Peace Court as a volunteer teacher just like you were. Now I'm the CEO of Netflix, my name is Reed.” He makes a strong effort to just be a normal person.

There was one funny story. Maybe it was the second or third time that I met him to work on the book and we met we were in Belgium. I live in Paris and I was in Belgium for the weekend and he stopped in Belgium and we spent the day together and we went walking in a forest, and we were together maybe 6 or 8 hours. Afterwards he took a train to the Netherlands, that evening he sent me a text message and the text message said, “So embarrassed, I see my shirt was on backwards all day long”. I didn't notice that his shirt was on backward, but I just thought it was such a funny expression for someone of that level of power to say I'm so embarrassed that my clothes are strange.

So that's what he's like, he's very down to earth. If you met him you would not think this is the CEO of Netflix, you would just think that's just a regular guy.

What's irritating about him? His strength is also his weakness. Despite what I said about wanting to feel like a regular guy and then being very down to earth, when things are important to him, he's extremely intense. So he is very strong opinions. That is both his strength and his weakness.

His strength has been his strong opinions are often right. He has been considered a visionary because he knew back in 1996 that the internet was coming and that all television would be eventually streamed over the internet. Apparently according to ten ceramics, apparently in 1996 he was already talking about that. But from the book he preaches dispersed decision making, he preaches that decisions should come from throughout the company, not from him. He is very opinionated. When he believes something, he believes it very strongly. He's tried to set up a system in the company where people will dare to push back on him. But it's often difficult because he's so opinionated. I felt like working with him frequently that I knew that he would want me to push for what would make the book the best. But sometimes he was so stubborn in his opinions. I’d have to push so hard and I would think, is it really worth it?

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