On Leadership
Video | PostLeadership | FedCoach | | Books | About |
Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

Robert Goodwin

Robert Goodwin

Robert J. Goodwin is CEO and co-founder of Executives Without Borders; former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force and appointee at USAID, the State Department and the White House.

Zuckerberg's on his way

Q: Facebook's young founder Mark Zuckerberg avoids press interviews, offers inscrutable answers at public forums and jealously guards his privacy--so much so that he is now the subject of an unflattering movie. Does Zuckerberg have to develop a better "outside game" to be an effective leader of his fast-growing company?

Even the most wildly successful start-ups experience a few growing pains--and Facebook undoubtedly has had more than its share. From privacy concerns to high-profile lawsuits, controversy has swirled around the social-networking giant since its inception. Given Mark Zuckerberg's youth and relative inexperience dealing with the often harsh media spotlight, it's no surprise that he's chosen to lie low. After all, Facebook's popularity has often spoken for itself.

But as Facebook grows beyond 500 million global users, readies one of the most hotly anticipated IPOs in recent memory, and finds itself the subject of a controversial new film, that all must change. Zuckerberg's stakeholder community has grown exponentially--and he is about to be more dependent on it than ever before. With investors, he must demonstrate that he's providing consumers with a service they want. With consumers, he must meet their needs and personify the values they hold dear.

Facebook is ultimately about creating a community, and each member must find a way to play a positive role to be valued. To that end, Zuckerberg is off to a good start. His $100 million gift to the Newark, New Jersey public school system has softened his image, and makes people believe he understands that with great success comes great responsibility. Time will tell if this is a gift of convenience to simply help shape his public image, or the start of a lifetime of community service.

The good thing is that Zuckerberg is demonstrating an understating that the bigger you get, the better your "outside game" has to be. For the time being, he seems to have identified his key weaknesses as a public figure and has acted accordingly to remedy them.

By Robert Goodwin

 |  October 7, 2010; 11:48 AM ET
Category:  CEOs , Corporate leadership , Leadership personalities Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Game is good, but sometimes you can win without it | Next: Mark Zuckerberg needs to own it (and "it" is not what you think)


Please report offensive comments below.

The people are loosing their moral while becoming modern. The society needs to be attentive that moral value.
camper trailers for sale

Posted by: johnicon | October 8, 2010 7:46 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Post a Comment

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company