Far too often, managers tolerate employees who are good at what they do, even if they are not a positive influence on those around them. At Netflix, these people are referred to as “Brilliant Jerks”.
In corporate culture circles, the ‘Netflix Culture Deck’ is a constant reference and source of inspiration. (If you’re not familiar with it, Google it. It’s worth the read!) In it, they outline the seven aspects of their culture, the first of which is “Values is What We Value”. They are serious about their values and use them to hire, review, promote and replace employees.
These are the values Netflix looks for in their employees:
The beauty of this is they name the value and give examples of behaviors that demonstrate the value. This makes it so much easier to include behaviors in performance management instead of just results. If we only manage results, by the time we know things aren’t going well, it’s too late to fix them. Results are downstream from behaviors.
Managers shy away from addressing behaviors because it can be subjective and is much more personal than results. Having well defined expectations of desired values and behaviors from the very beginning simplifies the process when corrections are necessary.
One of the first steps in the EOS implementation process is working with the leadership team to define their core values. These are not the values that are popular or that sound good on a poster; they are the values that are truly reflected in the way the leadership team operates and that their most valued employees exhibit.
Tolerating ‘brilliant jerks’ undermines teamwork and negatively affects productivity in ways we don’t even realize. If we want to have great results, we need to surround ourselves with a team of people who share and demonstrate the same values we do. To do this:
- define your true core values
- communicate these values to everyone in the company
- hire and manage to these values
- replace employees who do not demonstrate your values
If we are disciplined and consistent in doing this, it will be amazing how many conflicts are eliminated, how much faster projects get completed, and how much more enjoyable running our business becomes!