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Oct 9th, 2016 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

Companies Are Teams, Not Families

One of the things you hear founders say regularly is: “We are one big family here at XYZ.”

It’s an odd thing to say.

I get where it comes from — what the founder wants to say is that she cares deeply about her team.

Which is great.

Alas it is either not true — or leads to the demise of the company.

You wouldn’t (typically) fire your sister. That is family. But you should definitely fire an underperforming employee. Which makes a company more like a (sports) team than a family.

Netflix expresses this extremely well in their culture deck (which is public — you can find it here):

We’re a team, not a family. We’re like a pro sports team, not a kid’s recreational team. Coaches’ job at every level of Netflix is to hire, develop and cut smartly, so we have stars in every position.

It might sound a bit less friendly than the family rhetoric. Yet it is what might just make or break your company.

Take some time to figure out what the culture is you want to have at your place. And how that culture supports the outcomes you want to create.

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