Marissa Mayer is a 37 year old executive of a technology firm that alone should create energy and excitement around leadership potential. She is joining Yahoo from Google and to be frank some rigidity is needed at Yahoo. So as we wait with bated breath to dissect her every move as CEO, here are things that I would like to see her bring to the troubled company.
Well rounded data based decisions
We all know that Google is largely a data driven company and that brings with it a standard number of hits and misses. Data is something that can be manipulated, but used correctly it creates a great baseline for decisions. Where companies get into trouble is when they use that data exclusively with no concern for other softer areas of information. I am hoping that Mayer brings Yahoo into the habit of letting data set the stage and using strategic objectives to ultimately make the choice.
A more rational view of work/life balance
This one already seems to be a miss as Mayer has indicated that she will work throughout her maternity leave. My hope was that as a mother and a CEO she would not make the balance look effortless and create an unreasonable expectation on her staff, both male and female. With the encroachment of technology on our personal lives it is getting harder to know where to draw the line for many of our staff. As a CEO she could have set the tone that happy productive employee is more preferable than burnt out ones.
A clear strategic vision
Yahoo has had its share of head scratching ideas and now as they make the grab for market space with Google TV and media streaming, it is more important than ever to make sure that they have a plan. Mayer is truly analytical and this trait hopefully will translate into long-term strategic planning that makes sense in terms of growth and financial stability for the company.
The most important thing that I see for this change is the opportunity to create an organization focused on innovation. Now I know that a lot of people throw that word around, but really it means letting your people mess up without the fear of being fired. That’s the only way innovation works, with a sense of freedom. Hopefully Mayer can bring that a healthy attitude towards R & D to Yahoo because that’s exactly what’s needed. The question then is will the innovation take place in the needed areas? That’s up to Mayer.
Mayer’s appointment is exciting to watch and we are all hopeful that she can turn Yahoo around, at least I am. I’m interested to see where she goes with this appointment and how far she can lead the rest of us.