Accountability Demands Performance

An article about Netflix’s vacation policy this week caused a bit of an envious stir online. The policy? Take as much time off as you want, just make sure you are getting done what you need to get done.

Accountability! Flexibility! Hooray!

Here is the secret to why this actually works for Netflix is not abused: They fire average performers.

From the article:

People who don’t produce are shown the door. “Adequate performance,” the company says, “gets a generous severance package.”

Anyone who would abuse these open policies (approvals are not needed for travel or entertainment expenses either) is shown the door long before it would become a problem because, by definition, high performers are producing above average results.

You can’t give freedom and demand accountability without actually holding people accountable. That is the terribly hard part of the equation for a lot of organizations.

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