Doerr's Law

We need teams of missionaries, not teams of mercenaries.

-- John Doerr, 2015

The point of this law is that product teams should be mission-oriented: engaged, autonomous, and otherwise be tied in to the organization’s larger mission. Mercenaries are motivated primarily by money, and are uninterested in the mission insofar as it doesn’t impact their ability to get paid.

In the sense that this law pushes managers to empower teams, and to find ways to give them intrinsic motivation based in an organization’s mission - it is on balance a good law. However, it is easy to take this train of thought too far, namely to assume that total loyalty can be assumed of employees without necessarily earning that loyalty. Colloquially, the extreme version of this thought is expecting employees to “drink the Kool-Aid” of an organization’s ideology. Clearly, it’s necessary for leaders to chart a moderate path.