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News: Associations News

Under the hoodie: What associations can learn from Facebook’s IPO

17 October 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katie Spackman
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In 2012, eight years after he founded Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg faced his first big test as a CEO—the initial public offering of stock. It didn’t go well. 
Shares were priced too high and too many of them were on the market, so instead of getting the typical IPO ‘pop’, Facebook’s stock swooned. Moreover, no one on Wall Street expected Zuckerberg to show up wearing a hoodie!

In the end, Zuckerberg was harshly criticised for being immature and destined to fail. After all, he was too young, dropped out of Harvard, and didn’t follow tradition. 

Collision in today's workforce

This story helps to explain the collision we’re observing in today’s workforce. Zuckerberg is representative of the new post-Industrial Era characterised by innovation and disruption. Experience isn’t his advantage; ideas and innovation are.

However, many organisations today are structured in such a way that they still consider experience the sole advantage. These organisations hark back to the 20th century, built for efficiency and predictability, when leadership was a privilege you earned over time, through experience.

In recent years, the gap between executive-level and entry-level talent has widened. Young employees want to disrupt. Older employees want to sustain. The result has been widespread declines in employee and membership engagement. 

Do you have young members in governance?

Consider your association. Do you bring young members into governance and community with experienced members? Are you open to new people and ideas or stick to what – and who – you know?

It shouldn’t be a competition; experience vs. innovation. It needs to be a collaboration. Even Zuckerberg learned from his elders, including Bill Gates.

We now live in a world in transition, from the model of society we knew for centuries to one that is unpredictable and unknown. This transition can feel overwhelming, impossible even, for those organisations that cling to the past.

We can’t go backward. The only option is to evolve or fail – and the only way to evolve is to collaborate and expose your association to new ideas. 

There is hope. After all, today Facebook is worth more than $328 billion. Turns out age doesn’t determine success – and neither does wardrobe.

Article by Sarah L Sladek, CEO, XYZ University

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