Is security or freedom more important in today’s workforce?

By Mark Hannum on September 24, 2015

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NPR and All Things Considered did an interesting piece recently with Patty McCord who helped create and drive a culture of innovation at Netflix. She also helped create a famous slide deck about company culture that’s been hailed by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg as one of Silicon Valley’s defining documents.

That deck and her work as the former Chief of Talent at Netflix helped change the way individuals and organizations view work and company culture, and measure productivity by redefining what “severanced” (a term she hates) or being “let go” really means. She thinks that people simply “move on.”

She explains her ideas about “moving on” by stating that everybody at Netflix adds value as they find their flow in the organization. But as time goes on people change, and jobs change, and the needs of the organization change. This means that hard work and long hours don’t really provide an accurate measurement of success. Production (rather than “time” or “effort” or “seniority”) is essential to being retained. Adding value is the only way to create security and the ultimate judge of productivity.

This is just like an artist’s life. An artist can be part of a film production team, a band, or even an athlete on a sports team. But when the film ends production, or the tour ends, or your contract expires, or your painting gets sold, or you get cut from the team, it’s up to you to get on to your next project, or tour, or team, or film or even line of work.

The new world of work that values and rewards production is most certainly here. However, many people still subscribe to the old notions of work. The number of hours count. Being seen counts. Following the boss’s instructions to the letter count even more.

The dilemma for all of us comes back to what’s more important: security or freedom? The price of “freedom” requires the courage to believe that your unique talents have value. But the price of the illusion of “security” often requires much bigger sacrifices.

So, why are you still working 9-5? What work do you want to spend your life doing? Is it time to move on?

Please share your thoughts with us below.

Posted in Blog, Innovation, Talent Management

About Mark Hannum

Mark Hannum is Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Linkage. He partners with clients to create better business results that incorporate both organizational justice and effectiveness. An organization development consultant by training, Mark’s focus has been on understanding and improving executive processes and decision-making.

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