Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership could put Meta on the verge of failure according to according to a Harvard management expert warns -However, it’s not a loss. All Zuckerberg must make is go on a lengthy vacation.
That’s the suggestion to Zuckerberg by Bill George, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School and former CEO of the medical technology company Medtronic. George’s most important piece of advice for the Meta co-founder is to take some time off from your desk and take a break to rest your mind.
“You need to pull back, take a sabbatical to ground yourself in your purpose and your values,” the CEO tells CNBC Make It. “It can help you and the company get back on track.”
George was a researcher for the past two decades studying the failures of leadership and has compiled his findings into the new book “True North: Leading Authentically in Today’s Workplace, Emerging Leader Edition.” George uses the example of Zuckerberg as one example of a leader who has lost the view of their core convictions, values, and goals as an individual leader. In the end, Zuckerberg has become a leader who puts profits first as well as ignoring advice and blames others, says George.
George has claimed that these lack of leadership has had no impact on helping Meta to get back on track in a period when Meta suffered a loss of more than 60 percent of its value in the last year. Many reasons have led to the company’s troubles, including increasing competition from rivals such as TikTok along with the Apple iOS privacy update that’s made it harder for Meta to make ads relevant to its customers, in addition to Zuckerberg’s massive stake in the rapidly growing metaverse that he believes could cost “significant” amounts of money over the next few years.
George admits that he has “a lot of empathy” for Zuckerberg admitting that his “brilliant” CEO has been in a huge amount of pressure since he founded Facebook in 2004.
Zuckerberg has worked tirelessly to make his company an industry giant that has an $381.86 billion market value as of Thursday’s morning. Zuckerberg was instrumental in creating the modern-day social media industry, which reaches millions of users every day. Now Zuckerberg is betting big on the metaverse with the hope of being able to replicate his previous success through the creation of a new digital economy.
Of course, his past successes are exactly the reason there are still plenty of fans, despite of his recent troubles. In February CNBC’s Jim Cramer said he has “total faith in Mark Zuckerberg” regarding Meta’s wager on the metaverse.
George believes that Zuckerberg’s previous success was likely to have brought a fair portion of stress. This is the reason why it’s an “good, healthy idea” for Zuckerberg’s CEO to take a few months to relax now, taking a sabbatical.
He suggests Zuckerberg take some time completely away from the business and not checking email, managing team members from afar , or working on other work-related duties. Zuckerberg should be spending that time reflecting on the goals and the future of his business, as well as what values he should establish to grow as a leader George states.
A sabbatical is not likely for Zuckerberg
However, the chances of Zuckerberg taking George’s advice could be a bit unlikely. Long-term absence could lower the value of Meta’s stock in the near term: It may create uncertainty as to who will run the company during his absence. Also, a temporary change in leadership within Meta could be a cause for concern for investors and analysts.
Consider what was the fate of Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and former CEO of Twitter when he announced plans to relocate in Africa in the next six-month period from 2019. After his plans were canceled, Dorsey faced sharp criticism by some analysts who said the move was “reckless” because “proximity matters” in the management of a company.
The closest thing to an unplanned sabbatical Zuckerberg could take is paternity leave. The day before, he and spouse Priscilla Chan announced that they are having their third baby. Zuckerberg was granted paternity leave in the year 2017 following his second son was born in the summer. He broke it into two one-month blocks. One was immediately after the birth and in December.
Zuckerberg as well as Meta have not yet responded to the CNBC Make It’s request for comment.
Realistic or not, many experts believe that George’s suggestion is right on. DJ DiDonna, who studies Sabbaticals and is the co-founder of the research and advocacy organization The Sabbatical Project, even suggests that Zuckerberg leave for a location far from Meta’s Menlo Park, California headquarters to enjoy a sabbatical since “geographic separation” can help to let go of work. DiDonna says that engaging in physical or creative pursuits in the time off whether it’s engaging in a sport or getting into painting can aid in helping Zuckerberg revive a enthusiasm and drive which he can apply to his work at Meta.
DiDonna draws attention to his personal research, which includes interviews with hundreds of sabbatical participants over a period of years. He says Sabbaticals can be an “transformational experience” that can aid in personal growth. In some instances, people discover an authentic version themselves, and also experience other benefits such as a renewed sense of energy for work, more confidence in their voices and an improved work-life balance.
“[Zuckerberg’s] been contemplating his business since college. He may not even know the person he really is or how his character has developed over the many years.” DiDonna tells CNBC Make It. “Sabbaticals are a way for people like him to disconnect from their routine life, to heal and restore themselves.”