A Netflix Education: Using Talent Management Ideas As Inspiration in Schools

As a full-time education consultant, Allison Zmuda works with educators to grow ideas on how to make learning for students challenging, possible and worthy of the attempt. Over the past fifteen years, Zmuda has shared curricular, assessment, and instructional ideas, shown illustrative examples, and offered practical strategies of how to get started.

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Netflix educationNetflix, the multi-billion dollar company, created a unique talent management philosophy grounded in performance, freedom, and responsibility. Here are some of the key values and skills managers at Netflix use when evaluating performance of their staff that have real promise for growing talent in our schools.

I would advocate that these values and skills are as important to grow in our students as they are in our staff (with a little bit of tweaking based on context). What I appreciate about this set is the straightforward, simple, and inspired language. I also admire the balance between individual and working with others in pursuit of excellence.

1. Judgment

You make wise decisions despite ambiguity. You identify root causes, and get beyond treating symptoms. You think strategically,and can articulate what you are, and are not, trying to do. You smartly separate what must be done well now, and what can be improved later.

2. Communication

You listen well, instead of reacting fast, so you can better understand. You are concise and articulate in speech and writing. You treat people with respect independent of their status or disagreement with you. You maintain calm and poise in stressful situations.

3. Impact

You accomplish amazing amounts of important work. You demonstrate consistently strong performance so colleagues can rely upon you. You focus on great results rather than on process. You exhibit bias-to-action, and avoid analysis-paralysis.

4. Curiosity

You learn rapidly and eagerly. You seek to understand our strategy, market, customers, and suppliers. You are broadly knowledgeable about business, technology and entertainment. You contribute effectively outside of your specialty.

5. Innovation

You re-conceptualize issues to discover practical solutions to hard problems. You challenge prevailing assumptions when warranted, and suggest better approaches. You create new ideas that prove useful. You keep us nimble by minimizing complexity and finding time to simplify.

6. Courage

You say what you think even if it is controversial. You make tough decisions without agonizing. You take smart risks. You question actions inconsistent with our values.

7. Passion

You inspire others with your thirst for excellence. You care intensely about Netflix’s success. You celebrate wins. You are tenacious.

8. Honesty

You are known for candor and directness. You are non-political when you disagree with others. You only say things about fellow employees you will say to their face. You are quick to admit mistakes.

9. Selflessness

You seek what is best for Netflix, rather than best for yourself or your group. You are ego-less when searching for the best ideas. You make time to help colleagues. You share information openly and proactively.

I fully understand that some educators may take offense to using a model from a for-profit company to inspire education policy and practice. At the same time, innovation can come from playing outside of your specialty and tailoring the idea to suit your own culture and context.

What are the values and skills that govern your classroom or school? Do the values and skills reflect key priorities within and beyond school? Are the values and skills integrated into performance evaluation? What feedback do you receive around the values and skills? How do you continue to improve the quality of your work and the contribution you make to the learning organization?

See the complete Netflix slide set:

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