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Sheryl Sandberg after writing the book Lean In, in the 2013 got elevated to become the most  famous female executive in the US.  The book advocated for women in the workplace. Five years down the line the Chief Operations Officer of Facebook is on a roller coaster ride of one crisis after another. There is no denying the fact that there has been a 39% slump in Facebook’s stocks since July. Lots of current and former employees of Facebook put the blame right on her doorsteps it is still a divided house. The jury is still out. What has happened for sure is that she has fallen from grace.

Companies and ecosystem governing them does not operate on the dictats of the CEO or COO or CTO or a combination of them. It’s the other way round the top brass has to understand the operations, the business ecosystem and the sentiments and respond to it again and again as a matter of habit responsibly and lot of times in a detached manner. Long terms should always play in the decision makers mind. There is nothing short term in the life of a company. As Jim Collins titled his book Built to Last. An enduring enterprise has to be the sole enterprise of all the leaders of the company. You are because of the company, you automatically cease to exist if the company is decimated or takes a serious beating.

Might be Sheryl Sandberg thought it otherwise. The staff which saw her larger than life blame her for Facebook’s follies. She is alleged to have given precedence to her brand over Facebook. Her trusted coterie is supposed to have filtered bad news. The genuine problems were treated as perception issues. Zuckerberg has been facing flak since ever since 2016 US Presidential 2016 sordid saga was out.  He didn’t understand the potential downslides of Facebook products. Sandberg’s role has come under direct attack the publication of a detailed investigative report in the New York Times recently.

Sheryl has many responsibilities; the one pertaining to advertising has been a runaway success, a revenue boom. Unfortunately, she also heads the legal and policy at Facebook, which is in the eye of the storm. She wanted to sort out issues through strategic messaging, rather than addressing the root cause of the problem. She also tried to sort out the Congressional Hearing by talking it out in advance, which obviously backfired. Time is running out for the Duo and the company.


Sanjay Sahay

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