Jul 22, 2012

Yahoo!'s new CEO

Sorry I have been gone for a while - starting a business requires a lot more effort than I had thought.  The rewards more than make up for effort, but some important things like this blog get dropped along the way...

A quick post about Yahoo!'s new CEO from INSEAD Knowledge.  The article provides many interesting facts about the new CEO, however one stands out:
"Some Googlers who worked with Mayer found her style abrasive and her pace hard to sustain. In her early years, apparently, her interpersonal skills were inferior to her user focus and technical prowess. Many engineers relished working for her nevertheless, and her management skills improved with experience" 
The key points here is that R&D teams are willing to put up with a lot of hardship as long as the leaders are engaged in the development. As long as the leaders are able to provide the teams with a long-term vision, progress can be made.  Finally, leaders need to provide challenges that the teams can utilize to innovate. Each of these themes we have discussed many times on this blog.

The media frenzy about Mayer's appointment, however, requires some examination on our part.  The author of the article has summarized it so well, I have reproduced it below (even though it is not quite related to R&D)
The lessons we must draw from this exceptional event, which reveals less about Mayer and Yahoo! than it does about our norms, is the following: Leaders, especially such visible ones, have to accept constant and ruthless scrutiny that won’t stop at their results. Followers, opponents and observers will always question their motives and lives. And they will account for the leader’s story in ways that reveal and serve their interest. Good leaders know it and work with it. 
At the same time, we must take this opportunity to scrutinise, for once, not just the leader but also ourselves. To cast a light on the ways in which the stories we tell about our leaders - the patterns of thinking and feeling, actions and talk, which we take for granted - affect the efforts and opportunities to lead of those who appear different from us, and may not be as different as we make them to be.

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