Think of your team like a family? You might want to think again.

How often do you proudly hear ‘we treat each other like family’ referring to a seemingly well functioning business team? I’ll answer that one for you — too often.

Having a relationship with colleagues like you do a family member, isn’t a good thing. In terms of business success, it’s a bad thing, a very bad thing.

As a family you have (give or take some particularly repugnant atrocities), unconditional love for each other.

There’s no way you should afford a team member at work that same luxury. Your relationship should be built on mutural respect, complementary skill sets, trust, predicability and reliability. If any of these aspects aren’t working, you either work through the issues sharpish, or you go your seperate ways. Job done.

Of course, you can still remain friends and by all means, treat each other like family out of work, but you should no longer be colleagues.

Do you and your family set SMART goals? Probably not; you muddle through life trying your best to create a happy existence together. Blinding navigating life’s twists and turns and chalking them up as luck, fate and coincidence.

Imagine if this was the case at work. Not defining goals = going nowhere. Fast.

A much healthier way to think of your work peers is as a sports team. Sport teams motivate and encourage each other, all bringing a different skill set to an overall collective goal, while enjoy some friendly competition.

But hang on, not too much competition mind.

According to Margaret Hoffman Margaret Hoffman “organisations who encourage competition between employees, teams, departments create a negative culture, whereas employees who are not in competition, will be infinitely more productive”.

So what should you be looking for when it comes to hiring your ultimate ‘sports team’?

First of all individuals who, when questioned, discuss past successes based on the overall strategy of the team they worked with, not just their individual wins.

That way you know you’ve got a team player on your hands.

According to company culture gurus Netflix, too many leaders are looking for a new team member who shares their values and ‘fits right in’ but that’s not always the best tactic either. Be careful not to hire clones of the leadership team, business need diverse perspectives in order to thrive.

Let’s take a closer look at Netflix’s strategy for some culture best practise.

Netflix give staff the autonomy to make business decisions based on considering this one question beforehand: whats best for the business?

This could be who they partner with, R&D, or even what form of transport to use when traveling.

This philosophy doesn’t work for everyone, some people need the structure of a formalised business decision-making process, but these are the people that are not right for Netflix.

They are looking for people who can adopt their philosophy, but have the autonomous mindset to come to their own interpretations of the ideal.

As they wisely state, it’s better to not hire someone in the first place than to have to hire and fire.

If you’re interested in Netflix’s company culture you can check out the ‘working document’ they give to all new employee here.

I’d love to hear your hiring (and if you must, firing) stories and the best practises you’ve come across on your travels on company culture.

Check me out on Twitter @23wisewords and Facebook 23wisewords

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