Owning a team of four to overseeing 17,000 employees, the COO of Facebook knows what must be done to maintain a solid culture as a company grows.
Editor’s Note: In the brand new podcast Masters of Scale , LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman explores his philosophy on how best to scale a business — and at [sc name="domain"] , entrepreneurs are responding with their own ideas and experiences on our hub . This week, we’re discussing Hoffman’s theory: to lead a business to scale, you need to be as skilled at breaking plans when you are at making them.
As a company scales, so does its culture. Sheryl Sandberg does know this much better than anyone, having managed a team of four during Google’s start to overseeing a lot more than 17,000 staffers at Facebook.
Key during scale, according Sandberg, has been intentional about shaping a culture that’s resilient. Says Sandberg, “The most successful organizations over the long term will be the most resilient ones.”
But what does it try be resilient? How do a changing staff and culture remain strong despite massive shifts and bumps in the street? Sandberg discusses all this in a particular conversion for on Masters of Scale, a 10-episode series hosted by Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner, exploring unconventional theories for growing businesses. In this week’s episode, Sandberg shares stories, along with advice on creating a resilient culture, for companies both big and small. Here are excerpts from the conversation — and anecdotes not one of them week’s podcast — published first on Entrepreneur.
The culture you have when just getting started you not necessarily likely to be the same one you should have whenever your business has hundreds, if not a large number of employees. Yet, there are actions you can take to make sure some culture elements are preserved, including thinking ahead.
Birthday celebrations helped bring this aspect home for Sandberg. Initially, birthdays were celebrated that day and that week. “Eventually, we’d an enormous sheet cake with quarterly birthdays-my team was 4,000 when I left-and everyone’s name’s onto it,” she tells Hoffman. Now it appears like that wouldn’t matter, nonetheless it did-because if you began and we celebrated everyone’s birthday, and we took that away, that was a problem. NOW I AM not saying, ‘Be mean and do not celebrate birthdays,’ I’m saying find out what your systems are likely to appear to be later, and do it.”
“I don’t just mean racial, national, age, gender — all that diversity is super important, we must hire that — After all, moreover, cognitive diversity that you get from those backgrounds, but also just personality diversity,” says Sandberg.
If any business should tout this, it really is Facebook. The company is about people – 1.8 billion people around the world. So, the opportunity to think differently and also have unique methods to problems is imperative. And for Sandberg, it starts from the very best down.
“We have become different,” Sandberg says of her and Zuckerberg’s work style. “We are separated by obviously gender, 15 years, he’s my boss, he’s 15 years younger, very different personalities, very different working styles — and I think’s that served Facebook well.”
HAVE A LOOK AT a fresh Podcast Hosted by Reid Hoffman — And Join the Conversation on [sc name="domain"]
For a few founders, discussing the mission statement is a one-and-done deal. You told employees on the first day, this is a tagline on your own company’s Twitter bio and there are posters around your workplace together with your values on them – everyone ought to know your company’s mission. Not, says Sandberg.
“You must repeat your mission, as well as your purpose, and the values you value, again and again and over,” she says.
One way they do it at Facebook is to start out every ending up in the company’s purpose. ‘“This can be the Facebook mission,’ ‘this may be the Instagram mission’, ‘this is the reason why WhatsApp exists,’ is indeed powerful — even if everyone understands it by heart –because it reminds you where you’re headed, and just why you’re going there.”
In a Rare Interview, Mark Zuckerberg Opens Up About His First SOCIAL NETWORKING, ZuckNet
“You must embrace organizational failure,” says Sandberg, adding it shouldn’t you need to be a top-down structure; everyone should feel safe speaking up.
“I believe one mistake that I’ve made, that I make again, is remembering that whatever you discuss, or whatever you measure, folks are likely to react.”
For Sandberg, it had been unintentionally issuing a ban on PowerPoint presentations for everybody at the business.
“I don’t love PowerPoint presentations in meetings for me personally, because I’d like them to become more discussions,” says Sandberg. Yet, people continued to take action. “So 1 day — probably more frustrated than I would have to be — I simply said, ’No more PowerPoint at some of my meetings."’
While Sandberg thought it meant just meetings with her, the business understood it as PowerPoint presentations were prohibited in every meetings, including people that have clients. So, at the big global sales conference, Sandberg had to clear the air.
“I acquired on the stage and I said, ‘One, I am sorry, I didn’t imply that. Two, it really is on me that in the event that you all thought that, and that was a stupid idea, you should speak up and tell me,’” she recalls. “It had been just a excellent lesson that I would have to be super careful that things didn’t get taken too much, but also that I needed to be sure people could speak up.”
LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman: To Scale, DO STUFF THAT Don’t Scale
For employees to feel okay making mistakes, leaders have to own up if they make sure they are, too.
“Mark does it, I really do it, I make mistakes at all times,” says Sandberg, adding, it isn’t only vital that you acknowledge when you smudged, but “being available to feedback, thanking people for the feedback.”
One woman at Facebook, who some may think takes these suggestions to the extreme, is Carolyn Everson, the top of the company’s global sales force.
“She shares her performance reviews in a Facebook group with 2,400 people,” says Sandberg, “‘Here’s what I’m focusing on, here’s what you’ve explained I have to do better.’ That’s showing that people really value feedback, and we need not pretend to be perfect.”
For just about any company, big or small, there exists a finite number of resources. Leaders have to determine what areas to spotlight, and what ones to ignore. Nonetheless it isn’t always easy.
At Facebook, Sandberg explains the business targets “non-goals,” or ideas that folks should concentrate on after an objective is achieved.
One anecdote she provides handles Facebook’s ad network. “Over quite a while, our non-goal for ads was an ad network. We’ve one,” she says “It had been an excellent idea, but we’d to build our very own ad systems, and targeting and measurement systems first, before we surely got to the ad network.”
Not merely does this allow visitors to openly discuss ideas for long run goals, but it addittionally sets a precedent for other non-goals.
“You’ll see someone develop an idea, and another person would say, ‘That’s a good idea,’ and then the individual would say, ‘But it isn’t as good of a concept as an ad network,’ and that is a non-goal,” she says. “So that it set a floor for what we were likely to spend money on that everyone could understand, and it managed to get theirs.”
Often, it really is hard to separate your individual life from your own professional one. Emotions, stresses and family-life trickle into your workday. Rather than expecting visitors to suppress these feelings, let people be themselves.
“It really is in those personal relationships that people find meaning, even at the job, she says. “I never think that you can be an individual self some hours and a specialist self in others. Bring all of your self to work.”
And that doesn’t mean talking on a regular basis about your individual life, rather, “this means we acknowledge, this means we are there for every other, we are flexible using what people need, and we are able to form the relationships that induce that collective resilience.”