Harvard pundit calls Mark Zuckerberg a bad boss

Harvard Business School senior researcher and former CEO of medical technology company Medtronic Bill George said in an interview with CNBC that the poor leadership of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is slowly turning Meta. Drag to failure. "I don't think Facebook is going to do well as long as he's around," he said. "He's probably one of the reasons why so many people left the company. He's really lost his way."


The Harvard expert, who has spent the past 20 years studying examples of failed leadership in the workplace, has conducted extensive analysis and found that leaders who ignore their deepest beliefs, values ​​, and goals in the name of money, fame, or power are doomed. fail. Especially after studying corporate failures that occurred over the decades, he noticed a striking similarity between Zuckerberg and Meta and the failure precedents.


According to George, there are five categories of bad bosses, and Zuckerberg fits three of them. Such people are reluctant to admit mistakes or learn from them; instead, they rationalize mistakes by placing blame on others.


In February, Meta’s market value shrank by more than $232 billion, the largest one-day drop in U.S. stock history. Zuckerberg executives have blamed external factors for the result, including Apple’s 2021 privacy changes that make it harder to target ads to smartphone users and increased competition from rivals such as TikTok.


The role of the above factors may be undeniable, but the huge spending on Metaverse R&D may have an even bigger impact. Meta's virtual reality division reported more than $10 billion in losses in 2021 alone, followed by a $2.8 billion loss in the second quarter of 2022.


Zuckerberg has yet to really take responsibility, at least publicly, George said. Although he did say at a shareholder meeting in May that the company is expected to lose a "significant amount" of money over the next three to five years from investing in Metaverse technology.

George analyzed that Zuckerberg has become a loner who pushes others away and avoids forming close relationships. If a leader doesn't accept help, advice, or feedback, it's a clear red flag. In part, Zuckerberg is known for trusting his instincts over his wits, though that intuition has helped him build Meta into a multi-billion-dollar tech giant.


Early on, he had at least some trusted advice. Consider Roger McNamee, co-founder of private equity firm Elevation Partners and an early investor in Facebook. In 2006, McNamee advised Zuckerberg to reject Yahoo's $1 billion offer to buy Facebook. Mecanum later encouraged Zuckerberg to hire former COO Sheryl Sandberg, who eventually played a key role in the company's advertising business and internal operations.


Time has undoubtedly confirmed the correctness of these two decisions. However, as Meta has grown, McNamee told The New Yorker in 2019 that Zuckerberg is no longer so easy to follow outside advice. This led to the scandal and controversy that Facebook caused in the 2016 US presidential election.


In the end, Zuckerberg pursues honor, and he puts fame and fortune above all else. George believes that this type of boss is never really satisfied with what they have and is willing to go to extremes in order to make more money. Zuckerberg has always prioritized Meta's profits and growth, even at the expense of the company's billions of users. That's why the company has long been embroiled in controversy over issues related to user privacy and security. A Wall Street Journal investigation last year found that Meta Inc.'s Instagram platform contributed to users' mental health problems, but the company's leadership chose to ignore the problem to avoid jeopardizing user engagement and growth.


Criticisms of Zuckerberg's leadership may now resonate more. Shares of Meta are down 59% from last year after falling 9% on Tuesday. The company's sales and profits in the second quarter both declined year-on-year, and revenue in the third quarter is expected to decline again year-on-year.

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