Don’t want a ‘Family’, want a (star) ‘Team’

Category: Blog,Two Cents
Feb 11, 2018

One thing stroked a chord with me last week while I was listening to a podcast “Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman” on the culture at Netflix. In particular, the podcast mentioned a public Netflix culture slide deck (link), in which, a slide mentioned that Netflix does not consider itself as a ‘family’, but a ‘team’.
I have to agree 100%.
‘Family’ give us fuzzy and warm feelings. Broadcasting this banner may attract some young graduates who want a wonderful place to work at.
My advice: RUN.
The word ‘Family’ represents un-conditioned love and tolerance. The dark side of this being a company culture, however, is that people often abuse this love and tolerance, and this romanticized view of a working group.  It gives some people, who are either low-producers, true abusers/criminals, and others with poor characters an opportunity to take advantage of this love and tolerance, this culture of being a ‘family. Like during a recent scandal at Wynn, Steve Wynn repeatedly ask his abused employees to consider the company a ‘family’.  When a company claims that it functions like a ‘family’, watch out.
At work, I believe in the law, in pay to play, in fair metrics that are transparent, in a culture of constant innovations. I want to be part of a star pro sport ‘team’, not a family. It is pretty courageous for a company like Netflix to boldly assert that delivering value and constant upgrading itself are its priority, not chasing after a romanticized status that ultimately tolerates low productivity, abuse, and status quo.
That, however, does not mean the employee should not be treated well, paid well, with respect and encouragements. It does not mean a bro-culture like the one at Uber. Needless to say, common sense rules here.
Yes, people can bring dogs to work and can play ping pong during breaks…if it means better productivity and more lit-up light bulbs. But no, I don’t want my company to be a ‘family’, I expect a star ‘team’ playing its best games.