Organizations are more a team not a family
A sports team, not a family, is a better analogy for a company and other organizations.
 Family or team?
It is common to for people to talk about treating people in their company “like family”. While this is well intended and attempts to convey a caring environment, this is not a fully accurate analogy.
In a family you can’t get rid of your Uncle Bill who is always borrowing money and can’t seem to keep a job. In a family you are stuck with poor performers. In a company employees leave the company for many reasons including poor performance, lack of fit and breaking the rules.
 Team analogy
Sports teams are a better performance analogy. Teams compete with other teams, families don’t.
On a team everyone has to do their part. Performance matters greatly on a sports team. Team members change if they don’t fit. They might be a fine player; they just need another team where they might fit better.
Many of the reasons people use the family analogy also exists with the team analogy. Like family, the team supports individual team members when times are tough, such as sickness or injury.
 Some problems with family
Over use or emphasis of the family analogy can give employees wrong ideas and create inaccurate expectations or a false sense of security. Worse; employees can feel resentment in the event of performance related changes because they see corrective actions as overly harsh.
Everyone has seen and been a member of a family and knows a family is not based on performance.
Running an organization like it was family can make it difficult to make tough personnel and business decisions that come about for many reasons including individual performance, company growth, changes in business strategy, business competition and economic crisis.
 Related Best Practices
- "Don't Tell Your Employees They're Family Many bosses describe their staff as a family, but a sports team--where people compete and can be cut if they don't perform--is a more apt model for your business. by Will Yakowicz, Inc. Magazine, 2014.
- Your Company Is Not a Family, by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh, Harvard Business Review, June 17, 2014.
- Treat Your Family Like Staff, not Family, By Stacy French-Reynolds, Anchor Advisors - delves into how to preserve the desirable aspects of family in your company culture.
The author of this page is Joe Nordlinger
Joe Nordlinger is founder, President and CEO of Ascent a US based professional staffing firm. Ascent places highly skilled professionals in Technology, Business Professional & Pharma (Clinical & Scientific) positions—both contract and direct hire—at Fortune 1000, mid-size, and startup companies in a range of industries. Prior to Ascent, Joe was a business development manager for Cap Gemini-Ernst & Young and holds w Bachelor of Arts in International Political Economics from the University of California at San Diego.