Tag Archives: leadership

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg: Lessons on Leading a High-Growth Business

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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg talks leadership lessons with Reid Hoffman on the Masters of Scale podcast. Photo by Jacqui Ipp.

Leading a high-growth company and scaling it into a tech empire involves working through countless challenges: You need to constantly innovate, adapt with the economy, navigate relationships with executives, evolve your team, and more. Sheryl Sandberg knows this experience intimately, from her time as Google’s VP of global online sales and operations — during which she scaled the company’s online sales team from four to 4,000, driving two-thirds of the company’s revenue — through her past nine years as Facebook’s chief operating officer.

To get to where she — and Facebook — is today, Sandberg has learned hard leadership lessons about growing a team and a company.

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Why You Should Break From Tradition When It Comes to Building Your Leadership Team

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General Assembly campus in London

Nearly every company in the world is being shaped by new waves of technology, communication, and interaction with customers. Digital forces in particular are a huge concern for every one of the companies we work with at General Assembly. Leaders know they need to boost their digital readiness. But there remains the question of how to actually transform their organization, and what that can mean for their customers, employees, and shareholders.

During my 30-year career, I led Procter & Gamble’s Baby, Beauty, and Asia businesses, culminating with running P&G e-business — everything from helping to architect the digital transformation, to the incorporation of virtual tools, to develop breakthrough products and supply systems to digital marketing and eCommerce. I’ve harnessed my insights from three decades in the field to help companies answer that question of “How?” One clear way to make it happen is by improving leadership skills and creating digital leaders.

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10 Sentences A Product Manager Should Never Say

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Your words can be a powerful ally or your worst enemy. It all depends on how you use them. So, how often do you think deeply about what you are going to say before you say it?

Product managers, in particular, cannot afford to be careless in their speech.

After all, the product management role demands leadership and requires frequent conversations with other teams as well as different external stakeholders. These are not casual conversations; instead, they have some urgency and gravity. The success or failure of the product may depend on how well the product manager communicates with others.

But mastering the art of effective communication is not easy. If you are not careful, your words can undermine your effectiveness and authority.

That is why PMs must root out responses that convey a negative attitude and shut down communication, hindering their progress as a team.

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How General McChrystal Captures the Magic of Small Teams at Scale

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In today’s fast-moving society, the greatest leaders are those who discard bureaucratic business models in favor of a networked “team of teams,” empowered to make decisions quickly by breaking down communication silos between departments and positions.

This is retired United States Army General Stanley McChrystal’s philosophy, who dedicated more than thirty-four years of service to the U.S. military. His final, and perhaps most notable assignment, was as the commander of all American and coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2003 until he retired in 2010.

Throughout his tenure, General McChrystal worked to develop scalable management practices that enabled the U.S. Army to embody this “team of teams,” which possessed the necessary agility and flexibility to fight in a modern, technologically advanced war environment and beat back Al Qaeda.

Five years into civilian life, General McChrystal applies the leadership skills he learned during his time in the Army to the business world as co-founder of the McChrystal Group, a leadership and management consultancy firm.

We recently had the great honor of speaking to General McChrystal before he came to our headquarters in New York for a keynote discussion on leadership and team building.

This special event was moderated by Scott Kirkpatrick, the President and COO of General Assembly, who spent time as an officer in the United States Coast Guard.

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Former Astronaut Scott Parazynski Discusses Leadership Under Pressure at General Assembly

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Former Astronaut Dr. Scott Parazynski addresses the crowd at General Assembly.

We recently hosted former astronaut, Mt. Everest climber, Emergency Medicine doctor, and entrepreneur, Scott Parazynski, at our NYC headquarters for a talk about leadership under pressure. The discussion was moderated by Jillian Bellovary, who studies black holes as a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History.

Parazynski captivated the crowd with his daring tales of  space missions, mountaineering adventures, and even how he met his wife. At the crux of these stories were battle-tested tips for managing risk, assembling an excellent team, and learning from failure.

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Transformational Leadership in the Digital Age

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Companies in all industries are wrestling with how to crack the code to win in the digital space. Typically, they focus their efforts on shifts in business strategy. They concentrate on enhancing marketing capability, creating new digital products and services, improving their social media efforts, and upgrading their IT expertise.

From our experience working with clients across various market segments, it is clear that far less attention is paid to the important shift in leadership behavior that is necessary to foster a culture of innovation and experimentation.

There are four key issues that senior executives need to address in order to retool their organizations for success in the digital space. They must implement practical strategies that proactively engage:

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Ben Horowitz on “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”

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Ben Horowitz, one of the most respected entrepreneurs in tech, stopped by General Assembly in New York for a fireside chat. He spoke with Steve Stoute, CEO of Translation, about navigating the most challenging of circumstances in pursuit of startup success.

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