Shepa Learning Company Blog

Marissa Mayer – To do before June

March 2nd, 2013 by

Blog Parking Lot

Marissa Mayer’s To Do List before the Yahoo! parking lot fills up


Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO, is calling everyone back into the office. Starting this June, there will be no more working from home, so everyone can physically be together. She might want to follow our ‘To Do List’ before the parking lot fills up.

Before any organization reverts to a bring-them-back-in-the-office policy, leadership needs to make sure that they aren’t bringing people back to the ‘same old, same old’ unengaged workplace. Are employees still getting in the elevator, heads down looking at their smart phones? Are they still working at their desks, cocooned in their Bose headphones? Are they still sending emails to people in the next cubicle? Are they sitting on a communal couch but working or playing on their phone or iPad?

Changing to a connected culture requires that leadership make the changes first and, whether companies acknowledge it or not, most have executives who don’t have the skills of connecting, networking and conversation. Here’s what we think should be on Marissa’s checklist for all her managers, team leaders, executives (and herself) to be successful in this transition:

  1. Be the one to start a conversation with employees any chance you get. For example, engage employees in conversation in the elevator. If there are two employees in the elevator and you know both, ask them, “Do you know each other?” If not, make the introduction.
  2. Make eye contact with every employee when you walk down the hall. Smile and say good morning, hi, have a nice weekend–even if you don’t know that person personally.
  3. Step away from your desk and start eating in the cafeteria. “May I join you?” should be your lunch mantra. Senior people should be skilled at bringing everyone into a conversation.
  4. Executives and their posse often operate in a pack, sweeping down hallways and huddling at their special tables at regional and national meetings. Break up the posses and spread out to other tables.
  5. Be more cheerful, and who couldn’t up their ‘cheerfulness’ ante a tad? A recent McKinsey article, “Leadership lessons from the Royal Navy” by Andrew St. George, states, “The cheerful leader in any environment broadcasts confidence and capability, and the Royal Navy instinctively understands this. It is the captain, invariably, who sets the mood of a vessel; a gloomy captain means a gloomy ship. And mood travels fast.”
  6. Since research shows that 30% to 50% of people are introverts some leaders must fall into this category. If that’s you, overcome your desire to fall back into your inner introvert.
  7. We are all Connectors and as the CEO I am the Chief Connector.

Yahoo’s CEO has three months to complete this checklist before the office parking lots fill up again. Let’s hope she does it.

By Darcy Rezac, Judy Thomson and Gayle Hallgren-Rezac, authors Work The Pond!


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