This month (April 2012) Mark Zuckerberg appears again on the cover of Fast Company magazine where he is called an “American Idol” and “The World’s Most Famous CEO.” He’s also one of the youngest, brightest and wealthiest. What can the rest of us learn from the Facebook founder who has built a “once in a generation business?” The magazine articles may say little that is new but they can remind us of leadership ideas that are easily forgotten. For example, ponder this: “Mark Zuckerberg, oft-parodied young CEO, didn’t build the most important company of the Internet era by accident…. His two smartest projects were growing Facebook and growing up.”
• Focus. “Growing Facebook” is Zuckerberg’s focus. His conversations reportedly come back repeatedly to “the ideas that openness and connecting people are all that really matter to him.”
• Building competence. Sometimes dismissed as a “boy CEO… Zuckerberg hired an executive coach to help him identify and hone the essential skills of running a fast-growing company. He began to study and evaluate the successful people and companies around him, tapping them for insider lessons in leadership.” Wherever we are, building greater competence and learning from the experts is essential.
• Self development. Zuckerman “was smart enough to take himself on as a project.” He is willing to change his business and himself even when things are going well. It is rare ”to build a culture where the goal is to disrupt yourself before someone else can do it.”
• Design matters. Facebook now has 90 designers on staff. In our visual age, design matters in business but also in every other area of communication.
• Communication matters. Zuckerberg has taken elocution lessons so he can communicate better. Steve Jobs was a master in effective communication. Of course Jesus was even better. That was the theme of last week’s newsletter (# 474). Please look back and read the responses. Some of the comments contain excellent ideas for making better presentations.
How is any of this relevant or applicable to those of us who are Christians as well as non-believers, students or professors, counselors or coaches, business leaders or pastors, people bored by Facebook or social media sophisticates? Please comment.