Extreme Teams

Extreme Teams

Why Pixar, Netflix, Airbnb, and Other Cutting-Edge Companies Succeed Where Most Fail

AMACOM, 2017 more...

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Overview
  • Concrete Examples


Management consultant Robert Bruce Shaw examines successful teams at seven “cutting-edge” companies – Airbnb, Alibaba, Netflix, Patagonia, Pixar, Whole Foods and Zappos – and identifies behaviors and mind-sets that set them apart. He reports that they share a mission-driven approach to their work, don’t shy from conflict when it leads to better results and value “cultural fit” over experience. Shaw’s practical guidebook brims with useful anecdotes and insights into how the best teams function. getAbstract recommends his overview to leaders who want to drive improved business results by helping their teams improve.


What the Best Teams Do

Across a wide range of industries, corporate leaders who want to enhance collaboration organize their workforce into teams. But teams alone won’t give your business a competitive edge. Many companies fail to embrace fundamental principles that help teams operate at their best or they don’t give their teams the support they need in the first place.

Airbnb, Alibaba, Netflix, Patagonia, Pixar, Whole Foods and Zappos exemplify the use of effective teams to drive innovation. These firms expect their teams to meet a high standard in both “results and relationships.” Some other companies talk about “balancing” those two priorities, but that misses the point: Your teams should excel at both. Netflix, for example, doesn’t fire only poor performers; it fires employees who are merely average. Zappos, the online retailer, believes so heavily in good relationships that it expects managers to spend more than 20% of their time outside the office at social events with their team members.

Before organizing your workforce into teams, consider whether you need teams in the first place. Having individuals work independently is a better choice for carrying ...

About the Author

Management consultant Robert Bruce Shaw also wrote Leadership Blindspots.

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