The Zuckerberg system


a | a | a

The central way Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg works can be summed up in his often repeated mandate to his staff: “Move fast and break things.”

What Zuckerberg is talking about has two dimensions:

1. That speed needs to be a key component of how his people work. If they don’t have a sense of urgency then it’s unlikely that they’ll achieve anything substantial quickly. As businesses grow (and Facebook is no different), layers of bureaucracy develop that impede rapid progress. That must be countered by elevating the speed at which teams work (this sense of urgency was also identified as a key component of many other successful businesses. See Professor John Kotter’s work at Harvard on corporate urgency.

2. That no great achievements will occur unless Facebook’s staff maintain a spirit of challenging the status quo, even to the point of destroying what is already accepted as being best practice (this concept is similar to the Austrian American economist Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of ‘creative destruction’).

Zuckerberg urges his teams to keep these two mind filters front of mind, to ensure they don’t rest on Facebook’s existing achievements and that they keep pace with social media’s breakneck pace of progress.

We all should do the same.

I’ve found a simple and effective way to do this is by continually following two strategies consistently.

1. Set short, unreasonable deadlines
Only by putting time pressure on both yourself and your staff are you likely to push both to achieve at an unusually fast rate. Follow normal, reasonable deadlines and your chances of being faster than your competitors are low. Time pressure almost always brings out the best in people of talent.

2. Always as, 'How would the next great company in my sector do this?'
We need to stop aiming for best of category and start thinking major disruption. The first gives you progress and perhaps brief leadership, the second gives you a chance at really changing the game and establishing medium to long term dominance.

In today’s uber fast business world, Zuckerberg’s simple philosophy is a potent mind tool to get the most out of yourself and your people. The two strategies above will help you bring that philosophy to life in the day to day running of your business.

FORTUNE FAVOURS THE FAST: SIIMON REYNOLDS SMASHES THE PERFECTION MYTH


similar articles
Atlassian: the change agent
see more
Gerry Harvey: A life about something
see more
Carla Zampatti: a cut above
see more
SME spotlight: Joshua Nicholls
see more
Mark Bouris: my lessons from Kerry Packer
see more
CEO’s corner: David Tudehope, Macquarie Telecom
see more
O’Tooles of the trade
see more
The ring master
see more