Five team-building mistakes, according to Patty McCord

I’ve heard about the legendary Patty McCord and her work as Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, but have never looked deeply into it.

Recently, I listened to an interview with her on The Startup Podcast, titled Five Biggest Team Building Mistakes.

They all resonated:

  1. Tolerating mediocre performance
  2. Not sharing business context with everybody on the team
  3. Creating a command and control culture
  4. Avoiding difficult conversations
  5. Practising HR theater

Key quote (emphasis mine):

I’m supposed to be this big innovator in my field, right? Oh, Patty, she’s the guru of HR. She’s reinvented… [but] I didn’t do anything radical. Here’s what I did that was radical.

I stopped doing stupid stuff that doesn’t matter. Just stopped.

Why do we do this thing that everybody on God’s Earth does? Does it make any sense? Does it move the business forward? Does it make a customer happy? Does it increase our profit margins? And does it allow people to do their best work?

And if I’m asking somebody who I’m paying quarter of a million dollars a year to go ask somebody in finance for permission to spend $5,000 when all the person in finance adds to the equation is, you know, oh, well, that’s $5,012, you can’t do that. They’re gonna spend their brain power figuring out how to work around somebody who doesn’t know what they’re doing in the finance organization rather than solving the problem we need to solve. I mean, it’s just like, what an utter waste of time for everybody.

If we all stopped doing stupid stuff that doesn’t matter, the world would definitely be a better place.

Go check out the full episode, it’s gold!


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