Friday, January 24, 2014

COO Firing Questions Marissa Mayer's Judgment

Henrique de Castro. (Photo credit: nrkbeta)
Henrique de Castro
The point I’m making is that the most successful leaders I’ve met or who I’ve written about study the art of public speaking, persuasion, and presentations. They rehearse, they work on body language and vocal delivery, and they are relentless in seeking feedback on their performance. ”A person can have the greatest idea in the world, but if that person cannot convince enough other people, it doesn’t matter,” writes Gregory Berns in Iconoclast.
Reference:  Did Poor Communication Skills Do In Yahoo's COO?

Coincidentally, an executive I'm coaching realized just recently that his direct boss valued those with good  public speaking skills.  His boss pointed out to him, for example, "He's a good leader."  Needless to say, this executive and I are developing this area of his repertoire.

From reports about his ouster, Henrique de Castro didn't have sufficient communication skills or the right communication style.  But while Forbes contributor Carmine Gallo revolves his article forthrightly on this area, I'm not so sure communication is the main issue in de Castro's firing.

First, his apparently abrasive, perhaps introverted personality may properly under gird his quantitative prowess and responsibilities, but undermine instead the sales and networking role that CEO Marissa Mayer tasked him with.  We don't know if de Castro had an executive coach or a senior mentor working with him, and we don't know how willing and able he would've been to change.  But, to be sure, communication looks to be just the tip of the iceberg.

Second, the question of fit falls squarely on Mayer's shoulders.  We are left to ask `What was she thinking, and what did she see that suggested a fit?  The expensive mistake that analysts call it was simply unearthed by the de Castro firing, but has it been adequately addressed and resolved, I wonder.

The latter issue, to be perfectly blunt about it, is very much still at Yahoo!  What coaching and-or mentoring does Mayer have, and how willing and able is she to learn and develop?  Her executive judgment needs to be addressed.

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