We live in a strange time. It’s not always clear what’s true or what’s a figment of someone’s imagination—like a made-up story that people think is true that then spreads like wildfire on social media. When people can’t agree on facts anymore, it creates all kinds of problems.
Why the online streaming company doesn’t believe in keeping secrets from its employees. In his new bestselling book, No Rules Rules, Reed Hastings digs into some of the cultural aspects that make the company he co-founded, Netflix, so successful. In the book, which is framed as a kind of conversation with Erin Meyer, a professor at the INSEAD business school, Hastings writes that one of the cultural values he instilled in Netflix from its very beginning was that there weren’t going to be any secrets. As he puts it, embracing transparency and letting go of secrets—what Netflix calls “sunshining”—brings incredible advantages in terms of building trust and empowering employees to think like owners. What’s interesting is that Hastings acknowledges it’s easy for leaders to say they are pro-transparency. No one goes around saying they want to promote organizational secrecy, right? But why then, he asks, do so many organizations not walk the walk when it comes to sharing things like the company’s financials with their employees?