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  • Writer's pictureBuck Paolino

How to lead like Netflix.

This morning I busted through a wall of bricks. Not through a physical wall of bricks like the Koolaid man where kids are cheering for that sweet cherry flavor. But a mental brick wall and it felt a lot like the same.

How Hotels Can Lead Like Netflix

I was listening to a podcast about Netflix’s culture and how they retain only the best people. That’s right, only the best. They only keep the absolute best. They weed people out like a college athlete hitting the combine. If you’re good, you aren’t going to make it.

And that cutthroat philosophy may seem harsh and you might be thinking forget the best I need anyone!

I get it, sometimes we will take anyone that comes to us but how often does that work out in the long run?

You hire them. Spend a few hours of hr paperwork, have them train for a day or two and then they don’t come back. You’ve lost time, money, must start over, confidence dwindles in yourself, and your team’s ability to do the job. It’s can be crushing. I know because those are all the emotions I’ve felt. But what if we adapted this “only the best approach” like Netflix and adapted it to our own team? And it doesn’t matter if you are the leader of your organization, hotel, department, hotel accounting department, or only been on the job a few days, what could we do to keep only best?

And I believe it all comes down to this second point, again from Netflix, “Lead with context, not control.”

Again, “Lead with context not control.”

When you lead with the context you give the full picture of the situation and when you release your control you allow others to prosper and grow. This gives you freedom and your team confidence.

Let’s unpack this in two parts.

Lead with context

Context paints the full picture. It’s when you explain not the “how” of a task but the “why behind it.” I’ve spoken about this transformational view of training in other videos. How often do we just answer a question when a front desk agent, housekeeper, server comes to us with a problem? We say do step 1, 2, 3, and then we run around to the next problem that needs to be addressed and solved. We are task oriented. However, when we explain the full picture and the “why” behind our actions it allows for creativity and your front desk agent, housekeeper, hotel team to apply the steps in other situations. And when someone can apply those steps in multiple areas they begin to learn, grow, and build self-confidence. Now, your front desk agent is taking your “why” and explaining it to others and building up to be the new Assistant Hotel General Manager.

Now let’s look at that second point, in Lead with context, not control.

“Not Control”

Control can be tricky. They are your employees and you are their leader but that doesn’t mean you need to hold it over them. Now Control means that you don’t say, “Because I said so,” or “I want you to do …”

So how do you lead without control? Here are some ideas,

Instead of “Because I said so..” try “In my opinion…” or “I want you to do ….” Try “what do you think of …”

This opens up conversation and gently makes suggestions allowing for your team to grow personally while still accomplishing your departments goals.

So our tip for this week is to do like Netflix and “Lead with context not control.” And this is important to you and your team because it builds trust, rapport, and confidence while still working towards specific tasks. This keeps others engaged, supported, and excited in their roles.

Alright, I hope that was helpful! If you haven’t signed up for our weekly videos, please do so below and if you know someone who this would help send it their way! All right, talk to you soon! 


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