Moves Set the Grooves

There are various levels of cause and effect, this is why some has immediate effects while others take a while before bearing results.  In all these, it simply shows what a Leader stands for and how capable one is.

And so, let’s take a look at some of the earlier moves of Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer.

Culture

There’s always been great debates about corporate culture.  And certainly, what pervades is what’s breathed by the CEO which only then flows to the company’s working environment.

  • FREE FOOD AND SMARTPHONES.  A CEO would not just sit on her desk and order her lieutenants to go and give everyone a smartphone and food stubs for nothing.  Obviously, Mayer is using these freebies to boost morale and motivate her people to work harder and specially to think as Yahoo’s users do.  However, there’s a little downside here and clearly, it’s the purchasing expenses (although with an expected volume discount) which is specially crucial for a struggling company.  More so, since Yahoo! would also be paying for the phone bills, she should pursue tie-ups with providers not just to lessen the bills but for better promotional tactics. Nonetheless, Mayer could equate these freebies to something like the Pareto’s Principle.  No, in this case, not exactly 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients as not everybody are in sales.  Instead, at least 80% of the staff improves on productivity, processes, and waste management all by 20% on the first 3 months; then 20% more every 6 months for the next 2 years at least – only then, including having good user to promotional results, would it be safe to say that the freebies was worth it.
  • LATE LIGHTS AT THE OFFICE.  This ploy shows a hard-working and committed management which could influence employees to go the extra mile every time and be better organized in eliminating backlog and enhancing processes.  Still, this tactic should generally be used on Fridays as doing this daily would only add pressure and burn out employees.  Not everybody has the same stamina.  Thus, once the clock hits 6:30pm, strategic lighting should be implemented.  Keep your troops fresh and they’ll be ready for battle – after all, Leadership is all about people management.

Recruitment

This is one area where Mayer exposed some spots in her leadership.  For one, she hired a new CMO while the incumbent, Mollie Spillman, was on vacation.  Although a change of men is not new in a change of CEOs – that move was quite unethical.  Quite similar to her exit with Google where she even worked for more than a decade.  It’s like saying nobody’s secure with a moody boss.  Timely notification and proper turnover should have been in place.

On the other hand, Ken Goldman maybe the right man for CFO being a “growth-oriented” former finance chief of Fortinet; while for a position like EVP for People and Development, Jackie Reses maybe good with numbers (Goldman Sachs) but a bit questionable with people regardless of her other stints.  Well, let’s hope for the best.  At any rate, those with a customer service, sales or “sports” background apparently have the best people skills.

Lastly, the recent addition of Henrique de Castro, Google’s VP of Partner Business Solutions, as Yahoo’s new COO could prove pivotal having come from a rival company and being an associate of Mayer then – this makes running Yahoo! back to fighting form better oiled.

Investment

Returning the cash to shareholders from the Alibaba sale would make shareholders happy but then Mayer also needs the extra cash to make some strategic investments.  While it’s a known fact that Yahoo’s investors are not rushing Mayer for that turnaround, she should take advantage and use that “extra” time to push for good investments (engineers or buyouts) before the sun shines.  Don’t wait for the 11th hour, otherwise, some key executives could end up packing after all the glamour.

What’s your take?

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