A Peek inside the Leadership Development of Facebook
I had the fortunate opportunity to meet with Facebook’s Leadership Development this week; and, learned some of how this uniquely Millennial-driven company thinks and behaves.
Three distinctive aspects of their organizational culture stood out for me:
- Corporate Mentality on Careerpathing
- Fluid Team Formation
- Acknowledgement of Leadership Style Variances
Out with the old way of thinking, and in with the new! These Millennials have redefined how they wish to see their careers and lives in Corporate America. They have “opened the box” to unencumbered thinking.
OLD: I can learn most from those with more experience than me.
NEW: I learn from everyone around me.
(Cultural Preferences: Egalitarian; Collaborative)
OLD: Excellence is defined by what I know and what I can do well.
NEW: Excellence is defined by my strengths and what I ship (i.e. deliver).
(Cultural Preferences: Passion; Results)
OLD: Effective learning occurs in the classroom and by reading books.
NEW: Experiential, real-time learning on the job is the most powerful.
(Cultural Preferences: Action; Risk-tolerant)
OLD: Progression in my career is vertical and logical.
NEW: Career development is like a jungle gym.
(Cultural Preference: Systemic)
Facebook (FB) holds “Hackathons” and “Hackamonths.” Both allow FB talent to self-select a rotation into another function or role without permission from their supervisor(s). Stated another way: No supervisor is permitted to deny direct reports from exploring their talents and interest in serving on other teams. In fact, according to FB’s Leadership Development, COO Sheryl Sandberg switched places with FB’s CTO for a few weeks as part of her Leadership Development strategy.
Hackathon: An overnight work session whereby an employee can partner with another team for up to 24 straight hours.
Hackamonth: An opportunity for any FB talent in any role to work with another team for up to 30 days.
Given the nature of the business, it should be of no surprise to anyone that a technological work environment may strongly appeal to introverts and independent contributors. In this grid pictured below, there is plenty of room for those oft-ignored valued talent to shine with their natural leadership style(s).
Feedback is a key and crucial aspect of the leadership in this organizational culture, so there are plenty of courses offered on how to provide authentic feedback constructively. With such a collaborative, egalitarian company (e.g. no one has any offices – not even CEO/Founder Mark Zuckerberg), peer coaching/reverse coaching/coaching is the norm. Triangulation (i.e. a peer complains to the boss about another peer) is frowned upon and not considered effective team development.
The Leadership Development of Facebook and this “Next Generation” of talent is exploring the landscape, the possibilities, and the positive impact of Globalization.
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Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, http://www.facebook.com/CorporateLookingGlass, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners. We increase retention. Visit CorporateLookingGlass.com.
© Rossina Gil, 2015