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Lessons Regarding Marissa Mayer’s Inflexibility

Ellen Galinsky expects that Yahoo will learn "they’re going to have to provide some flexibility," flexibility that is well managed.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made the decision last month that all telecommuting employees need to be working in Yahoo offices or quit. In a previous post, we speculated about Mayer’s data-driven approach to making decisions, and how such a decision may have been a courageous move for Mayer, although not necessarily one that other industries or individual companies would want to follow. 

Today we are sharing a different perspective. 

Ellen Galinsky, President and Co-founder of the Families and Work Institute, says it’s clear that Yahoo has a problem, indeed, two clear problems. Marissa Mayer, Galinsky tells Big Think, “used a blunt instrument” to tackle both of them. 

The first problem Yahoo has is that some employees “aren’t being as engaged, productive as they should be and they’re not really working as hard.” The second problem for Yahoo is that they need to foster creativity and collaboration. “They need innovation to serge ahead as a company,” Galinsky says. 

The first problem, according to Galinsky, is one of performance, which is a management issue. Galinsky points out that this problem can occur whether people are working from home or at the office. So what a company needs to do is set performance standards. In other words, “you make sure that they live up to their performance standards, and, if they don’t, they get fired.”

The second challenge, of fostering innovation, won’t simply be solved by “people bumping into each other at the preverbal water cooler or coffee cup or whatever in the office,” Galinsky says. “You have to create a forum to promote collaboration.” 

However, what Yahoo is doing is taking an “all or nothing approach.” In the video below, Galinsky says she expects that Yahoo will learn “they’re going to have to provide some flexibility,” flexibility that is well managed.

Watch the video here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


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