28/08/2012 Comfort Can Undermine a Leader's Effectiveness - Forbes1/2forbes.com/sites/johnbaldoni/2012/08/27/comfort-can-undermine-a-leaders-effectiveness/print/
Google CEO Larry Page holds a press annoucementat Google headquarters in New York on May 21,2012. Google announced that it will allocate 22,000square feet of its New York headquarters toCornellNYC Tech university, free of charge for fiveyears and six month or until the universitycompletes its campus in New York. (Image credit:AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)
It is human nature to surround yourself with people you like. Butthat part of our nature is somethingthat leaders may be best todownplay.Larry Page, CEO of Google, has
trimmed his lead team from 15 that were present whenEric Schmidt was CEO to just a handful. Lost inthe downsizing were several women. [One of whom MarissaMayer is now CEO of Yahoo.]Google had been regarded as a goodplace for women executives but,asreported in the
New York Times
, aGoogle spokesperson said, “Larry focused on certain products, and the people who happened to lead thoseproducts and became his direct reports were men.”One long term Google employee also noted, “Part of the issue is who Larry wants around him, and those are the guys he’s most comfortable with becausehe knows their whole engineering and computer science background.”Bingo! The issue lies deeper than gender; it lies in surrounding yourself withpeople of similar backgrounds. That, as the history of business shows us, can be lethal. When companies struggle, one factor in its decline may be that its seniormanagement team is comprised of lifetime insiders — those who have spentmost or all of their careers at that company.General Motors,IBMand Kodak
suffered when insiders loyalists were the only people who wielded power.Such “inbreeding” leads to groupthink, that is people think and act the same way. They fail to look outside their own environment to see what’s going on inthe outside world.Too often executives are blindsided by problems that were swept under therug so much so that the rug begins to have topography full of bigger problemsthat need urgent attention.
8/27/2012 @ 1:11PM|849 views
Comfort Can Undermine aLeader's Effectiveness
I write about the impact leaders have on those they lead.