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Yahoo’s Culture Shock – Revival or Flatline?

March 5, 2013 No Comments

By Dr. David “Doc” Vik

Even though Marissa Mayer is not speaking publicly about the decision to ban telecommuting, starting in June 2013, the “new law” that she laid down is going into effect for Yahoo’s 13,000 employees.

Her reasoning is that “speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.” That could be the case, but telecommuting in the Information Age is not going away anytime soon.

Some have applauded her action, as it will help the bottom line, but so would cutting everyone’s pay in half or laying off employees.
In either case, what she has done is change the Culture of Yahoo in one subjective fell swoop, and has the reality twang of, “Even though I have been in charge for less than a year, I am the Boss and everyone will do what I say, for I am in charge.”

It’s a great message if you were running a company in the Industrial Age, where machines were the assets and the employees were disposable. But in today’s Information Age, the employee is the greatest asset and to impact the entire company and the Culture by the whim of the one at the Top, will have negative effects, long after the display of power was made.

Great Leadership in today’s Information Age needs to be objective in moving an organization in a desired direction. If a company wants to get rid of telecommuting, it has every right to do so, even if it’s not in alignment with the wants, needs and demands of the current workforce.

So why would someone subjectively declare something that will negatively impact employees and the Culture within a company? There could be some good reasons, and Marissa Meyer seems like an incredibly sharp person, but “laying down the law” by a single person is not the way to go.

Bottom line:

Companies are in a War for Talent in the Information Age, make no mistake about it, and if Yahoo wants to regain the excellence it once had, meeting the wants, needs and demands of its employees should be priority # 1.

There are scores of talented people who could help Yahoo make a meaningful comeback, and whether they want to telecommute or not, they will ask themselves, “Do I want to join a company where my whole life can be impacted by the fancy of one person?” Not so much.

Dr. David “Doc” Vik is the founder and CEO of The Culture King and was the Coach at Zappos.com (2005-2010), where he helped drive their company culture. He is the author of The Culture Secret: How to Empower People and Companies No Matter What You Sell. For more information, please visit www.theculturesecret.com.

 

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