From Netflix’s Culture To Waking Up Earlier: February’s Top Leadership Stories

This month’s top stories may help you stop procrastinating and ask better questions, plus give you a peek inside Netflix’s work culture.


This month, we met the mastermind behind Netflix’s influential work culture, learned why cover letters are becoming obsolete, and picked up some anti-procrastination tips.


These are the stories you loved in Leadership for the month of February:

1. The Woman Who Created Netflix’s Enviable Company Culture

Patty McCord was Netflix’s chief talent officer when she put together a 124-slide deck that’s been shared on Slideshare over 13 million times and been referred to as “the most important document ever to come out of the Valley” by Sheryl Sandberg. This month we heard from McCord about the document’s genesis, and the long shadow it’s cast over Netflix’s culture and beyond.

2. How I Became A Morning Person, Read More Books, And Learned A Language In A Year

Buffer’s Belle Beth Cooper is “a big fan of working smarter, not harder,” which led her to undertake a daunting yearlong experiment. Cooper spent five minutes every single day studying French, and committed to reading just one page of a book each night. Here’s her recap of how it all went, and the strategy that made it possible.


3. The First Four Things You Should Do Every Workday

You may be able to set the tone for your entire day in the first hour or so after pouring your coffee. This simple, four-step routine can help you lay productive groundwork each morning.

4. Cover Letters Are Dead: Do This Instead

By one recent measure, two-thirds of recruiters don’t find much value in cover letters (and many of the software systems they use don’t process them anyway), which leaves some career experts saying they’re obsolete. Instead, there are a few tweaks you can make to your resume to help it stand out.

5. She Created Netflix’s Culture And It Ultimately Got Her Fired

Patty McCord is widely credited with shaping a culture at Netflix that’s envied throughout the tech world and beyond. But writer Vivian Giang says that McCord may have been a victim of her own success when she “moved on” from Netflix in 2012. Speaking to Giang of that decision, McCord says, “We did it like the grownups that we are, and that’s part of the culture.”


6. How The Most Successful People Ask Questions

Many of us hesitate to ask questions, fearing we’ll look ignorant or worse. But holding back could be hurting us. According to the latest research, inquisitive people are typically perceived to be smart and engaged.

7. How To Finally Stop Procrastinating (For Real This Time)

Have you been putting off thinking about the stuff you’ve been putting off? Don’t fret. For one thing, behavioral scientist Bob Nease explains, you probably don’t procrastinate as much as you think. And when you do, it’s usually because your brain’s neocortex and limbic system are fighting. Here’s how to break them up.

8. Five Everyday Activities That Hurt Your Memory

Are you a late-night snacker? Well, you may want to step away from your fridge, for reasons that have nothing to do with your waistline. It turns out that eating when you should be sleeping can mess with your sleep patterns. Here’s a look at why, plus four other common habits with cognitive consequences.


9. There’s No Such Thing As Stress—Here’s What’s Really Bothering You

According to one expert, what we typically call “stress” is actually just our fear-response system kicking into gear. That means that trying to manage stress only treats the symptoms, not the disease. When it comes to de-stressing, the only thing we have to fear may be fear itself.

10. These Are The Best Employee Benefits And Perks

Airbnb hands employees $2,000 and says, “Go travel!” Netflix offers new parents a year of paid leave. This month we learned about some of the most generous perks and benefits on the market today, according to employees surveyed by Glassdoor.