I stumbled across two articles this week which you should read this week, one on Microsoft (which was posted awhile ago) and another one on Yahoo. Both these articles talk about their leaders, Steve Ballmer and Marissa Mayer. Both these long articles cover a huge range of topics and I find them to be very insightful as they covered topics from management, to business, to technology (of which many of our readers are interested).
The Truth About Marissa Mayer: An Unauthorized Biography (source: Business Insider)
The first article about Marissa Mayer details her rise to stardom within Google, and how she took over the reins at Yahoo, bringing it back as a “products company”. I learned about what was important in companies, and probably a lot more about team morale, strategic direction and importance of details than my six years in management roles. It’s a very recent article and will take your about an hour to digest, but trust me, it’s worth your time.
Microsoft’s Lost Decade (source: Vanity Fair)
The second article I am recommending today was actually written a year ago in August 2012, but I never got down to reading it. It caught my eye today after another article on Slate which took a pot-shot at Microsoft’s stack-ranking system. I come from an organisation which is over 30,000 people large, and much of the article resonates with me. In particular the following quotes,
More employees seeking management slots led to more managers, more managers led to more meetings, more meetings led to more memos, and more red tape led to less innovation.
I was told in almost every review that the political game was always important for my career development,” said Brian Cody, a former Microsoft engineer. “It was always much more on ‘Let’s work on the political game’ than on improving my actual performance.
and not least,
For that reason, executives said, a lot of Microsoft superstars did everything they could to avoid working alongside other top-notch developers, out of fear that they would be hurt in the rankings. And the reviews had real-world consequences: those at the top received bonuses and promotions; those at the bottom usually received no cash or were shown the door.
There is much to be learnt about what not to do in an organisation, and how destructive forces pull companies and organisations apart as they devolve into dysfunctional systems.