netflix values “we are a professional sports team, not a family”

this is one of my favorite descriptions of a company.   it is from Netflix and came to me via Matthew Monahan (CEO of People Search Media):

We're a high-performance team, not a family.

A strong family is together forever – no matter what. A strong company, on the other hand, is more like a pro sports team: it is built to win. Management at every level has the responsibility that professional coaches have – to recruit the players and forge the teamwork that makes great performance possible.

To accomplish this, we seek to fill every position in our company with exceptional performers. In many companies, adequate performance gets a modest raise. At Netflix, adequate performance gets a generous severance package.

For us, the cost of having adequate in any position is simply too large, when we could have extraordinary. Extraordinary performance means excellence in the nine values described below. Plentiful extraordinary talent makes for a high-functioning company.

The benefit of a high-performance culture is you experience the exhilaration of working with consistently outstanding colleagues. You do your best work, you learn the most, and you achieve the highest professional satisfaction, when you're surrounded by excellence.

A great workplace is not how many perks are offered; it is how stunning are the colleagues.

1 thought on “netflix values “we are a professional sports team, not a family”

  1. Anon

    I think companies and business people like pretending they’re like sports teams/athletes to make up for the fact that they personally possess marginal physical abilities and quite frankly aren’t as desirable as athletes in our society, culture and media.
    Championship teams built on a sustainable model of success are that way because they specifically are successful targeting ADEQUATE talent at less than essential positions. Spend $ for the all-star talent at key positions and then save money with adequate talent in others. Take the Colts, a team with a Superbowl win and a constant presence in the playoffs; the overwhelming majority of their payroll is spent on a few, key positions (QB, #1 WR, TE, LT, DE, CB) and they save money on by constantly turning over adequate/average talent at less important positions (C, G, LB, S, DT). A look at the Patriots and Pittsburg rosters shows a similar philosophy with variance on which positions they consider key (for the Patriots, DT is more important than DE because of defensive formation).
    Companies, like sports teams, operate with a SALARY CAP. That cap can raise/lower every year based on performance, but not all positions can effect that performance and are worth the investment in a-grade vs. b/c-grade. Anyone can spend a lot a money and get a-grade talent at the key positions; the GMs that are successful are the ones that find adequate talent at less essential positions to remain under cost constraints.


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