Growth5 Blog

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Are You the CEO of Your Job?

The NY Times recently published this interview with Mark Pincus, CEO of online social game maker Zynga. I enjoyed his thoughts about "being the CEO of your job," what he looks for when hiring, and "O.K.R's" – here are the highlights from the conversation:
1. "One thing I did at my second company was to put white sticky sheets on the wall, and I put everyone’s name on one of the sheets, and I said, “By the end of the week, everybody needs to write what you’re C.E.O. of, and it needs to be something really meaningful.” And that way, everyone knows who’s C.E.O. of what and they know whom to ask instead of me. And it was really effective. People liked it. And there was nowhere to hide."

2. Did everybody want to be C.E.O. of something?

"There are people who want the comfort and structure of a job where they’re given tasks and told what to do. I think it’s actually a minority of people. The majority of people don’t want that, but I’d say that the companies I've built are full of people with something to prove."

3. "I also like to hire people into one position below where they ought to be, because only a certain kind of person will do that — somebody who is pretty humble and somebody who’s very confident."

4. "John Doerr [the venture capitalist] sold me on this idea of O.K.R.’s, which stands for objectives and key results. It was developed at Intel and used at Google, and the idea is that the whole company and every group has one objective and three measurable key results, and if you achieve two of the three, you achieve your overall objective, and if you achieve all three, you’ve really killed it.

We put the whole company on that, so everyone knows their O.K.R.’s. And that is a good, simple organizing principle that keeps people focused on the three things that matter — not the 10."

5. "I ask everybody to write down on Sunday night or Monday morning what are your three priorities for the week, and then on Friday see how you did against them. It’s the only way people can stay focused and not burn out. And if I look at your road map and you have 10 priorities for you and your team, you probably don’t know which of the three matter, and probably none of the 10 are right.

I can look at everyone’s piece of paper, and their road map shows every item you were going to do and your predicted results and actual results, and then the results are in red if you missed them, yellow if they’re close and green if you passed them. I think road maps are a great principle just for managing your life. It keeps everybody focused, and it lets me know what trains are on or off the tracks."

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