LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM MARK ZUCKERBERG—PART THREE

In late 2016 Fortune announced the conferring of “Businessperson of the Year” title upon Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. Related to that, Adam Lashinsky wrote a fascinating article on what we can learn from Zuckerberg’s leadership and management style. A few key ideas jumped out to me. Here is one of them from the article (“How to Lead Like Zuck” Fortune. December 1, 2016, pp. 66–72):

One of Facebook’s key business innovations is a ‘growth team’—today made up of hundreds of people—that designs tactics for various parts of the company, relying on a rigorous set of metrics to gauge success. The unit has broad latitude to weigh in on any aspect of Facebook’s business. . . . [Venture capitalist and former Facebook top product executive Mike] Vernal affirms ‘The team owns no single product. Instead, it owns any issue that is preventing people from signing up for or using Facebook.’” (p. 71)

The fact that Zuckerberg has chosen to put this growth team into place demonstrates several aspects of being a quality leader:

  • Fresh Perspective. Quality leadership recognizes that good ideas can originate from anyone anywhere. It is not addicted to the NIHS (Not-Invented-Here Syndrome). Quality leadership craves that fresh perspective that intrinsically arises from elsewhere. By virtue of having a growth team in place, a constant invitation exists for critique and input. I don’t know of any leadership situation that could not benefit from this.
  • Stop The Bleeding. Sometimes an entrenched department or team can become so engrossed in its own world that it cannot see the real problem. That outside growth team has the ability to come in and metaphorically speaking apply pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding. It is this lifesaving intervention that then enables the group to regroup forces and move forward with a renewed focus and energy.
  • Diversity Of Idea Generation. Diversity of idea generation leads to superior solutions. Chances are that the growth team is diverse and adds an element of diversity to the immediate problem solving situation. That diversity ensures a better solution than what would have been arrived at without that diverse perspective.
  • Refocus On The Mission. The growth team owns any issue that prevents people from signing up for or using Facebook. Sometimes a leader must rearticulate the bottom line mission of the organization. Why are we here? What are we trying to accomplish? What are the barriers to our progress? How can we overcome them? A quality leader will constantly reinforce the organization’s mission, the raison d’etre, the ultimate vision, and thus inspire the team to move on to success.

Do you want to be a quality leader? Infuse your leadership approach with these four points and watch them work.

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