Tony Hsieh: “I Fire Those Who Don’t Fit Our Company Culture”

Imagine if every business worked like Zappos where company culture comes before all else. I’m proud to say that I’ve worked with hundreds of awesome, inspiring professionals. I can also name a handful of people whose personality and demeanor were utterly toxic and deconstructive. Poor performance will grant you a set of walking papers at Zappos, but a Debbie Downer sourpuss will get  you there just as fast. Tony Hsieh goes on to say that 50% of their performance reviews account for someone’s ability to inspire Zappos culture.

I’ve built many teams over the past 15 or so years, and I have to say that I tend to see things the way Tony Hsieh sees them. Good businesses are just like car engines. Engines have many moving parts that move in unison. Parts are designed and engineered to work together. Parts of different engines are generally not interchangeable. You couldn’t take the intake manifold of a Dodge Viper and place it on a Honda Civic. Companies and people are very much the same.

The problem is that most proper interviews don’t give one a complete window into the soul of a potential employee. Even if there are objective questions and tests given to a candidate, the decision of whether someone or not fits a company culture is very subjective. That leads me to wonder if someone can know ahead of time whether they fit the Zappos culture. In fact, what is the Zappos culture? If someone is having a particularly bad day, could that be a reason for termination?


Here’s the video:



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