Marissa Mayer needs to shock the Yahoo! system

Marissa Mayer SledgehammerIn a recent post, Jeanne Roué-Taylor expressed her skepticism for the Yahoo! decision to no longer allow employees to work from home. That was the first day of a breaking story and from the outset, it looked like a poor decision and significant step backward for a Silicon valley stalwart (though a bit of a limping giant).

Since the story broke, however, there have been other messages smuggled out of Sunnyvale that are supportive of her decision. Rumor has it that Yahoo! culture has grown as fat as French labor unions and something had to give.

There are stories of empty parking lots and people who haven’t logged onto the VPN for days. If that’s the case, then this early Internet giant was due for something other than the status quo.

The debate

This is a story that seems to have real staying power as people debate the pros and cons of Mayer’s decision. If it’s true that Yahoo! needs to rebuild it’s culture, then she’s doing exactly what she needs to do…not with a scalpel but with a sledgehammer.

Culture is a funny thing. It can sustain a company during a rough patch or bury a company despite the effort of great individuals. For all we know, this was exactly what the Yahoo! Board wanted when it brought her in.

Only time will tell.


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Categories: Future of work, Leadership

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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2 Comments on “Marissa Mayer needs to shock the Yahoo! system”

  1. Tricia Swedin
    February 28, 2013 at 7:03 am #

    I agree something had to be done. But a sledgehammer to all employees is the wrong approach in my opinion. How about showing true leadership and addressing the problem head on with those abusing working from home rather than trying to indirectly weed them out? Management/leadership are the ones with the real problem for allowing such a culture to be created. An employee who doesn’t log on for days should be fired on the spot. And the fact that the CEO built a nursery next to her office is a slap in the face to good employees. How hypocritical that Marissa Meyer can have a work/life balance but her employees, even her good employees, aren’t offered the flexibility to do some work from home. I’m sure there are employees wouldn’t mind a ban on working from home if they too could build a nursery next to their cubical.

  2. March 1, 2013 at 5:28 am #

    I agree with your analysis Chris. The use of the ‘sledgehammer’ has gotten everyone’s attention. Now she could let certain people work from home on a case by case basis.

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