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, Zuckerberg describes an empowering Facebook-improvement feature that is driven directly by the organization’s size (“How to Lead Like Zuck” Fortune. December 1, 2016, pp. 66–72):
“‘At any given point in time, there’s not just one version of Facebook running in the world. There’re probably tens of thousands of versions running because engineers here have the power to try out an idea and ship it to maybe 10,000 people or 100,000 people. And then they get a readout.’” (p. 72)
This practice demonstrates two key leadership qualities from which every leader can benefit:
- Capitalize On Your Company’s Characteristics. If not for the sheer size of Facebook with its nearly two billion users, these sorts of endeavors would be impossible. However, Zuckerberg is choosing to capitalize on one of his company’s key characteristics (in this case, size). He leverages that by creating an accelerated mechanism that generates new insights about how he can best serve his users. Your organization may not be a billion-customer behemoth. Nevertheless, you can identify the key characteristics of your company and leverage accordingly.
- Be Willing To Experiment. An astute leader never assumes that everything is perfect. Instead, the astute leader searches for ways to experiment with new concepts, strategies, procedures, products, and services. Do you have something that you would like to change in your organization but you are not sure it will work? Develop a plan to beta test it. Many of the best practices in business today had their genesis in the beta test. Look at it this way: knowledge and insights can come even from failed experiments.
Do you want to improve your leadership? Adopt these two approaches and enjoy the benefits.