Personally, I am a huge fan of these choices. From paying over $100 a month for hundreds of cable channels that I rarely watched I now pay $17 a month for Netflix's unlimited streaming service and DVD mailed-to-my-home option. As an Amazon Prime member I pay around $100 annually for two day shipping and access to thousands of additional movies, TV shows, and original series.
It occurred to me that Netflix has done something that doesn't happen all that often: establish a new model of customer service in an industry that has been resistant to change for several decades. That raises the question, How have they done it? Are there any parallels to a satisfying retirement?
Recently I stumbled across a few articles that detail what Netflix has done to make them so powerful in a such a short period of time. While it is easy to blame cable companies for overcharging and providing miserable service, Netflix has brought more to the table than just obvious things like treating customers as something valuable, not as an irritant (airlines - are you listening?).
Their corporate culture is one that treats the employers like adults, meaning each is given respect and freedom to produce a quality product. Unlimited vacation time, elimination of unnecessary meetings and work reviews, superior pay rewards for superior performance, coupled with an expectation of working until a project is done, being inventive and creative, and "playing well with others" are key components of the Netflix approach. Also important is their attitude that long hours aren't required, only superior results for the company and its products.
The company has put together a a 124 slide presentation of its corporate culture and on what it places value. This Netflix "culture deck" has been viewed over 11 million times and is in partial use by a growing number of companies. Click here to take a look. It is well worth a few minutes of your time.
So, how does this relate to our retirement journey? Here are the nine behaviors that make up the core of the Netflix approach:
I can't think of one of them that doesn't belong in the mix as part of a satisfying retirement. These behaviors govern our relationships, our approach to life, our ability to stay vibrant and engaged, and the way we strive to make our little corner of the world a better place.
Over the last few years Netflix has made some mistakes: a large price increase, and an attempt to split the streaming and mail service into two separate companies with two different names. After a large drop in customers and a loud outcry from the financial world coupled with a big drop in the price of their stock, they apologized and retreated from the worst parts of those decisions. They admitted their mistakes and moved on. Today, Netflix is as strong as ever and looking to expand into another 150 countries.
The takeaway lessons for us are simple: never stop growing, never stop experimenting and improving, admit mistakes to yourself and others, put failures behind you, and realize life is for the living.