Zuckerberg Testimony Avoids The Key Question

Mark Zuckerberg, (can I call you Zuck) can say whatever he wants in response to the frequently sophomoric questions he faced from Congress but I did not hear the key question.

The reason for the attack on Diamond and Silk, as well as the attack on Conservative news sites, is not because the ladies or the sites are dangerous to the community. It is because Zuck has created a corporate culture at Facebook that empowers such censorship. The culture is what delivers the message to the tens of thousands of Facebook employees as to what they are really about in a big picture sense. Culture is what you count on to provide direction when no specific direction or rule applies. It is also the source of a sense of entitlement as was the case for Diamond and Silk among others.

There is, in a culture, for good or evil dynamic reciprocity. You hire people that your ‘comfortable’ with, who tend to agree with your vision. Candidates look for circumstances where they believe they fit in and will also be ‘comfortable’. Unless you’re a student of the organizational dynamics and the impact of leadership you could be missing the leadership boat altogether. Leadership is in large measure, especially in large organizations, an exercise in messaging which defines acceptable parameters of behavior.

Zuck’s most important hire, his COO Sheryl Sandberg, has politics that are well known and you assume Zuck and Sheryl see eye to eye or she would have failed the ‘comfortable’ test. Hiring Sandberg is a message to the organization about what manner of direction they can expect.

Zuck himself spoke to the overwhelmingly leftist base and bias in Silicon Valley. It was almost like he was saying; “it’s not my fault lefties are the only people who are available to hire.” Does that mean that Zuckerberg and the executive team are not really in charge, that they are victims of the labor pool? There is an answer for that: decentralize and diversify your operations. Open offices in places like Dallas, Richmond, Wichita, etc. Then your available labor pool would be more diverse. Hey, if it’s diverse it good; right?

The manner of explosive growth Facebook enjoyed is a serious challenge to management and leadership skills. I don’t recall, but I’m willing to stand corrected, anyone waxing poetic about Zuck’s management and leadership skills. There is geometry to how you balance management and leadership both initially and based on the pace of growth; as things explode you have to be the leadership guru, you set the tone, and you provide the vision. Diamond and Silk are just one example of what the vision message actually is.

It’s the culture stupid! The question from at least one of our esteemed members of Congress should be; “So, Mr. Zuckerberg what will you do to change the culture at Facebook to insure that such obvious, and blatant bias is not a part of how Facebook does business?” That would be the question that Zuck would have a hard time answering with his stock answer to almost everything else, artificial intelligence, AI. AI can’t provide a leadership function Zuck, so what’s your answer?