Netflix's Success in Adapting to Social and Political Issues: Insights from a Corporate Board Veteran

Strategically navigate social and political issues during election season. Learn from a corporate board veteran, align objectives, foster unity, and achieve business success.

May 14, 2023 - 11:06
May 14, 2023 - 11:07
Netflix's Success in Adapting to Social and Political Issues: Insights from a Corporate Board Veteran
Netflix's Success in Adapting to Social and Political Issues | Image Source: Depositphotos

With election season on the horizon, companies face the challenge of addressing social and political issues that inevitably come to the forefront. Betsy Atkins, an esteemed corporate board member renowned for her role as chair of Alphabet's Google Cloud and board membership at Wynn and GoPuff, stresses the importance of aligning business objectives with the core values of an organization. Atkins cautions against the perils of companies becoming overly fixated on reshaping the world, as this can lead to detrimental outcomes.

Lessons from Netflix:

Atkins cites Netflix as a prime example of a company that successfully adjusted its approach to social and political issues. Initially, the streaming giant took a one-sided stance, resulting in creative content that catered solely to a specific political spectrum. However, Netflix eventually recognized the implications of alienating a significant portion of its audience and decided to create inclusive content that appealed to a broader market.

The Pitfalls of Activism:

In contrast, Atkins expresses concerns about companies like Salesforce, a software provider known for its activism. She emphasizes that excessive focus on social issues can inadvertently create divisions among employees. Atkins underscores the importance of maintaining an open environment that embraces diverse perspectives and encourages constructive dialogue. By doing so, companies can ensure that employees remain focused on the core business objectives, rather than being fragmented by divisive political issues.

Balancing Engagement and Success:

Atkins emphasizes the significance of approaching political engagement thoughtfully. Taking a clear stance requires careful consideration of its potential impact on the company's bottom line. She advises companies to establish a robust policy that articulates their beliefs, values, and the purpose behind engaging in public discourse. Communicating this policy to employees and leadership teams sets the stage for constructive engagement that fosters unity and cohesiveness within the organization.

Promoting Inclusive Dialogue:

Atkins underscores the importance of creating an environment that welcomes diverse viewpoints and encourages the free flow of ideas. While providing space for all voices to be heard, it is crucial to maintain a strong focus on the company's core business. By striking a balance between open dialogue and a clear business-oriented mindset, companies can navigate the complexities of social and political issues successfully.


As companies confront social and political challenges, a balanced and strategic approach is essential. Drawing insights from Netflix's journey and the cautionary tale of Salesforce, companies can chart their course thoughtfully. By aligning business objectives with core values, establishing clear policies, and promoting inclusive dialogue, companies can navigate the social and political landscape while maintaining a focus on their primary mission. The ability to engage constructively on pertinent issues ensures both unity within the organization and long-term business success.

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