In the fall of 2011, Netflix announced it would spin off its DVD division and give it a new name: Qwikster.The company was already in the process of losing almost a million subscribers due to a change in billing structure; the name change didn’t sit well with their customer base.
Analysts were unanimous in their opinion that the split was not a good idea, one calling it the dumbest move he’s seen a business make in a long time.
At this point, most companies would have stuck to their guns and bulldozed through the transition, determined to make the best of a bad decision.
That’s not what Netflix did.
Instead, less than a month after announcing their big Qwikster plans, they made another announcement: “Never mind.” They scrapped the entire idea and went back to the way things were.
Again the pundits howled: the management team doesn’t know what they’re doing; this could be the beginning of the end for Netflix.
Except it wasn’t.
In the three years since the Qwikster detour, Netflix has almost doubled their subscriber base and their earnings have gone through the roof. So much for those predicting their demise. And so much for those making jokes at their expense. At this point it appears that Netflix earned the last laugh.
It’s an idea worth trying.
Here’s why I like this story. When Netflix realized they made a mistake, they swallowed their pride, reversed their decision, and fixed the situation.
What a great principle to live by: Admit your mistakes and make them right — sooner better than later.
Errors are often embarrassing to acknowledge; our tendency typically is to keep pressing on, posturing as though the decision was right, pretending that square pegs really do fit in round holes.
Or we could learn a lesson from Netflix: Reverse the wrong decision and get back to the business of being successful.
While some decisions can’t be undone, most can. Wrong turns can be re-directed — if we’ll just take the steps. It usually involves some pride-swallowing and pie consuming (of the humble kind), but it’s worth it to be headed once again in the right direction.
We all make choices that have taken us off the right path, maybe even off the beaten path. Every leader and every believer sometimes find themselves facing situations that should be made right, that could be made right, and that would be made right with a simple change in direction.
And you? Are there any decisions you’ve made crying out to be reversed?
Let this be the week you make it happen.
“For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” (Proverbs 24:16)