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West Point Cadets
West Point cadets and instructors

West Point Cadets

A group of 13 cadets and four instructors from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point take on the weekly 'On Leadership' questions. Who better to explore the gray areas of leadership than members of The Long Gray Line?

Maybe Mark needs a mentor

Q: The ongoing privacy controversy at Facebook raises the familiar dilemma of what to do when fast-growing startups threaten to outgrow the management abilities of creative young founders. The Google guys got kudos for bringing in industry veteran Eric Schmidt as CEO, but things didn't work out as well when Pepsi's John Sculley took the reins from a young Steve Jobs at Apple. What's the leadership wisdom here?

When Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, he envisioned a simple site where friends could stay connected through the power of the internet. Without knowing it at the time, he was also producing a revolutionary online social networking tool where today not just students, but also companies, organizations and politicians spread ideas and information with the click of the word "share."

As the site rapidly grew in terms of users and sponsors, criticism and feedback also escalated. Endless modifications, upgrades and redesigns meant the website was constantly changing its look and feel. Yet if Zuckerberg bit off more than he could chew, he has still been very successful in terms of Facebook's profitability and growth of users.

Although Facebook has sustained success, perhaps what Zuckerberg needs now is a mentor. Bringing in a different set of eyes and ears may provide Zuckerberg with the wisdom he needs to maintain 'command and control' over a company that is still growing exponentially. Having a veteran leader on board can offer multiple benefits to a younger CEO as far as time management, personal support, and the devil's-advocate position that oh-so-many of us sometimes need.

So is it time for 'better leadership' at Facebook? No. But perhaps Zuckerberg can take advice from Google and find a mentor to help in the development and investment of Facebook. Such mentorship could help both the company, as well as Zuckerberg's own life, run a bit smoother. -- Cadet Megan Snook

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

By West Point Cadets

 |  June 8, 2010; 9:50 AM ET
Category:  Corporate leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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