Netflix’s reference guide to their business values and culture is fantastic.
One slide that resonated with me was slide 27 “We’re not a Family, we are a Pro Sports Team”
Growing up I loved playing on sport teams. My favourite team was probably my middle school basketball team.
The school was made up of grade 8, 9 and 10.
Grade 8’s had their own team that almost everyone who wanted to play got to be on it. It was fun, not very competitive, and we were never any good. However, the school varsity team of grade 9s and 10s was a whole other story. They were good, really good and it was cut throat to be on it. You now had twice as many girls vying for the 15 positions and everyone wanted it.
I always knew I wanted to be on this team– it just meant so much to me and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, so I trained, I trained a lot. The summer before grade 9 I played basketball as much as I could. Luckily, I had a basketball hoop at the end of my driveway where I would play my dad or brothers any time they would. I normally lost, but losing was okay as long as I was practicing.
I also went to basketball camp where I spent a week training harder then I ever had before. When I wasn’t putting band-aids on my blisters, I was running lines, working on on my free throws, learning to do left handed layups and playing game after game.
What kept me going when every bone in my body hurt was the all consuming feeling that I wanted to make the team in September. I knew I was at a disadvantage because the team the year before had been made up of primarily girls in grade 9, who would probably just float back into their position. This meant there were only a few open spots from the grade 10 girls who had moved onto high school.
This was cut throat, we now had the entire grade 8 team + the returning grade 9s + anyone else who had failed to make the teams all wanting to play- every tryout was going to count.
Every day after school for 2 weeks we’d meet the coach in the gym where we would be taken through numerous skills tests, pick up games, and 2km time trial runs.
You’d go home every night exhausted with a pit of nerves in your stomach and every morning you walk up to the gym door to see if your name was still on the list.
For a 14 year old this was stress, this was passion.
I made the team and I had never been so excited and proud. Not only was it a testament to hard work and determination, but having gone through such a difficult trial process had set a tone for the team. Everyone wanted to be there and everyone wanted to be successful.
This made the season an incredible experience. We trained hard, we practiced hard, we supported each other, and we loved playing together. There was no room for indifference, apathy, or slackers.
Now back to Netlfix- absolutely, I think a company with a true sports team culture would be incredible. A team made of people with the same passion, commitment, and drive that I experienced with a group of 14 and 15 years playing basketball.