What Reed Hastings Has Learned About Leadership

Reed Hastings, the founder and CEO of Netflix, took his company from a mom-and-pop DVD operation to a $40-billion world leading Internet television network. Reed shares what he’s learned along the way in a new video, including everything from observing chess pieces to washing old coffee cups. 

So what can you and I learn from Reed’s experience? 

1. Servant Leadership Goes A Long Way

Reed caught his boss washing his old disgusting coffee cups. The moment was so moving he said he would “follow that guy off the ends of the earth”. The seemingly little things can have a big impact. It’s a great reminder that as a leader you can never convince yourself that you are to important or busy to do the little jobs. 

2. Don’t Lead The Organization into a Boxed Cannon

Unfortunately Reed’s endearing boss was great at servant leadership but poor at strategic leadership. Leadership comes with great responsibility. You are responsible for yourself, for your team and for your community. Leading them down a destructive path is more than a failure. For some, it will be something they never quite recover from. You’re not going to get everything right every time but if you’re leading people you’ve got to take it seriously. 

3. Learning From The Criticism And Suggestions Of Others

Reed barely mentions this but what he says is incredibly important. “The fundamental is to be self aware enough that you want to learn and you learn through the criticisms and suggestions of others.” You need to know enough about you own shortcomings that you pay attention to the feedback your peers provide. 

4. Not All Things Will Kill You

The trick in leadership is knowing which scenarios will grow into a bigger threat because not all things will kill you. And if you find yourself trying to deal with every problem that does or potentially could exist in your organization you’ll find yourself being very unfocused. And an unfocused leader is an exhausting person to follow. 

5. Great Teams Are Like Jazz

Great teams are like jazz, “you want players who can improvise” becuase the communities and world we live in is constantly changing. At the same time, they need to have great judgment knowing what to do next in order to keep accomplishing their goal. 

Reed is talking about building his company but I believe his sentiment also applies to Sundays. Keep our North star focused on the goal. Build a church that will reach more people and engage more leaders. 

Question of the Day: What else stood out to you in Reed Hastings' video?