Sheryl Sandberg's Inspirational Graduation Speech at Harvard
Sheryl Sandberg is an American female entrepreneur. Sandberg, Facebook's COO (chief operating officer), in other words Facebook's second most important name after Mark Zuckerberg.
Considering the size of Facebook, you can imagine how important a person Sandberg is now. We can say that she is the most powerful woman in the internet world.
Sheryl Sandberg made an unforgettable speech at the Harvard Business School graduation ceremony in 2012. We give this talk, which is inspiring in many subjects such as business life, passion, motivation and Facebook experience.
It is a great honor for me to address the valuable faculty members, students and families of Harvard Business School, and most importantly, 2012 graduates.
Today we had to celebrate endlessly here, but I agree with your mourning due to the death of your classmate Nate. There is no word to say in such situations. Though mixed with sadness, today is still an important day for 2012 graduates.
When the dear dean invited me to speak, "Am I going to speak in front of people younger and cooler than me?" I said to myself. But then I thought I could. I do this every day on Facebook, after all. "How was school life before the Internet?" I like to meet with young people, provided they don't ask questions like.
17 years ago at Harvard. I attended Kash Rangan's social marketing classes. Rangan used to give many examples in his lectures, but one example he gave never went out of my mind. Due to the low number of organ donors in the USA, 18 people die every day. This month Facebook developed a tool to support organ donation. In this project, Prof. I have to say that we were inspired by Kash Rangan. Kash, wherever you are, we are grateful to you.
So only 17 years ago I studied at the same time as you. But the world has changed a lot since then. My class was Harvard Business School's first online class. We used the AOL chat room and dial-up internet. You can ask your parents later about what dial-up internet means. However, this online training job was unlikely at that time. The infrastructure required for 90 people to communicate on a single line was not yet available.
Then you had to be very rich and powerful to reach more than the people you talked to face to face in a day. In other words, to benefit from this infrastructure, one had to be an actor, politician, and CEO. Today this has disappeared.
Even ordinary people can have their voices heard today. Anyone who has access to Facebook, Twitter, and a smartphone… Of course, this situation is destroying traditional power structures and hierarchies. Power and sound descend from the institutional level to the individual level. This is happening at such a rapid pace that I couldn't even imagine such a thing at your age. Mark Zuckerberg was 11 years old at the time.
The world is getting more connected and less hierarchical. The classic career definition is also changing. In 2011, I quit my job in the government and moved to Silicon Valley. However, my timing was not very good and I had trouble finding a job. Small companies were collapsing, big companies were going to shrink. Somewhere I go to a job interview, a CEO told me, "We wouldn't even consider hiring someone like you." he said.
Some time passed and I received several job offers. I took a piece of paper. I wrote these works. Then I wrote down my skills, criteria, and the qualifications and positions required for these jobs. One of these job offers was the general manager position of Google's first business unit. It's like a great job now, but back then, nobody thought it was possible for internet companies to make money. At that time I wasn't even sure that there was such a unit on Google. This position was also a few sizes smaller than other companies offered me.
I sat down with Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, and showed him that this position did not meet any of my criteria. He took the paper in his hand and told me, "Don't be an idiot." said. It turns out to be a great career advice. “Jump on the spaceship. Companies are growing very fast and you can be very influential. Careers take care of themselves. Don't ask what seat was when you were given a seat on the spaceship, just jump. " said.
This advice was still in my mind when I was leaving Google 6.5 years later. I received offers from many companies as CEO, but I entered Facebook as a COO. At that time, people said, "Why do you want to work for a 23 year old person?" they said. He has a habit of seeing career as a ladder, I don't believe this metaphor is valid anymore. In a world where hierarchy is weakened, this means nothing to me.
In my early days on Facebook, I met a woman named Lori Gole, a Harvard 1997 graduate. At that time he was working in the marketing department of eBay. One day he called me and told me convincingly that he wanted to work on Facebook.
I had hired thousands of people in my career, but it was the first time I saw them. “I'm hiring you. I said that my biggest problem is the recruitment process and you will be dealing with this issue. "
Lori got a job on Facebook and faced a whole new world. In the following terms, he got promoted and became a manager managing thousands of people. Lori has a saying I like: "Career is not a ladder, it's a toy climbing ladder."
You will enter the business life after Harvard. You will pursue opportunities and want to make an impact. Go left and right, back and forth. Improve your skills, not your CV. Evaluate what you can do, don't care what title you will be given. Set yourself a quota. Don't over plan. Don't expect to rise the easy way. If I had planned my career when I was your age, I might not have a career now.
You are entering a business world very different from my time. In my time, the internet was new. Now the internet is everywhere and in everything. In my time, the competition was intense, today it is even more intense. Leadership must evolve as traditional career understanding disappears. Hierarchy has to give way to social responsibility, from order to mutual negotiation.
You were educated at this important school. Your task should be to create trends, not to follow trends. You cannot trust the school you graduated from as you lead in this new world. Your only assurance has to be what you know. Your strength must come from your dignity and trust, not from your acquaintances. You will need talent, imagination and vision, but above all, you will need the ability to communicate with people in an original way, to be able to inspire the people around you, and lifelong learning.
If you watch the kids, you'll see how honest they are. My Harvard classmate Betsy got pregnant with her second child after graduation, and her first son, Sam, then 5 years old, looked at her mother and said:
Sam: "Where's mommy baby?"
Betsy: "The baby is in my womb."
Sam: "Baby's arms aren't yours?"
Betsy: "No, baby in my womb."
Sam: “Really? Baby's legs aren't your legs? ”
Betsy: "No, the baby is all in my stomach."
Sam: "Mom then what's that growing on your butt?"
As adults, we can never be so straightforward. This is not a bad thing either. As a mother of two, these comments are the last thing I need. But it doesn't always have to be a good thing. Because all of us, especially leaders, have to hear and tell the truth. The workplace is a difficult place to speak the truth. No matter how much hierarchy is being destroyed, there is a certain level of hierarchy in all companies. This means: One person's performance is judged by another's perception. This is not a matter of honesty.
Consider how people speak in a typical workplace. Instead of saying “This strategy is working wrong for me” people are talked about with very technical expressions.
The truth is valuable when it is conveyed in plain language. Last year, Mark decided to learn Chinese. He started studying Chinese with Chinese Facebook staff for several hours each week. One day, when one of these people told him something about their supervisor, Mark said, "Please, in a simpler language." Finally this person said, "My manager is a bad guy." Simplicity and clarity are very important to Mark.
Of course, people rarely speak so frankly. As your position rises, they talk to you more closely, they consider the little things you say very important.
One of the things I had to do when I joined Facebook was to improve the business direction of the company, to implement some new systems. However, I wanted to do this without harming the culture that makes Facebook wonderful. For this reason, for example, I decided not to make an official Powerpoint presentation in the presentations I attended. Instead of a Powerpoint presentation, "Why don't you bring a list of topics you want to talk about?" I said to people. However, this decision of mine was ignored. People continued to make Powerpoint presentations for months.
Two years later, “I don't like to set rules, but I'm making a rule. I don't want to see a Powerpoint in my meetings. " I said.
A month later, a global sales team came to me and said, "The whole team is upset that you banned Powerpoint presentation in customer meetings." said.
Then I took a podium where I addressed the whole company and I said “I don't want Powerpoint in my meetings. And more importantly, if you get news of an absurd decision, even if it comes from me or Mark, oppose it, react. " I said.
A good leader realizes that many people are reluctant to struggle with authority. Therefore, the leader who has authority should encourage people to ask and question. "I want feedback." It's easy to say, but often feedback doesn't come in the format leaders want.
In my first term at Google, I had a 4-person team. It was important for me to get to know everyone in my team very well. So I felt compelled to get to know someone in my team. When my team reached 100 people, I realized that one-on-one meeting with all of these people would take too long. One day during the meeting, I opened up the subject of quitting the one-on-one interview job. I thought people would protest "No, these talks are very important to our success," but people started applauding with joy. In other words, they expressed that I was a foothold in them throughout this process.
For a few hours I was very embarrassed and angry. "Why didn't they tell me I was slowing them down?" I thought. Then I realized it was my fault that they didn't say that. I hadn't made it clear to them that I wanted feedback.
If you are a leader, it is very difficult to get good and honest feedback from people. But there is a method I found. I talk to people very openly about issues I am bad at. This allows people to agree with me. It is much easier than these people take individual initiative and state this on their own.
I can be very nervous when things get messed up. No one has ever accused me of being a very calm and unresponsive person, I'm sure of that. In such situations, because I speak openly, people also get involved and explain what is wrong. If I don't speak at moments like this, nobody would come and say, “Hey Sheryl, calm down. You are already nervous, you make us even more nervous. " does not say.
You graduate today. Ask yourself how to be a leader. Will you use plain and clear language? Would you like to receive honest feedback? Will you be annoyed by honest feedback or will you thank you? We try to be more authentic and original in communication. We have to spread this more generally. You have to commit yourself to your business.
Motivation comes from working on the things you care about. Also, motivation comes from working with people you care about. In order to care about a person, it is essential to know that person. The people you work with must know what they like and what they hate. If you want to win people's hearts and minds, you must lead them with both your heart and mind. I don't think people take on different personalities on different workdays and weekends. Nor do I believe that such a distinction will work.
Once I cried at work. I told people that I was crying at work. "Sheryl Sandberg cried on Mark Zuckerberg's shoulder." the news came out. I share my dreams and fears with people, I want to learn about their dreams and fears. I try to be myself. I speak honestly about my strengths and weaknesses and encourage people to do so. In other words, there is no clear distinction between work and non-work life.
With regard to the issue of dedicating my whole self to work, I have recently become interested in the challenges women face in business. I have dared to do that in the last few years. Before that, I never reflected that I was a woman in business life. I was giving milk to my children while locking my office door and talking on the phone. People could not understand the sounds coming from my room.
The fact that no progress has been made in the field of women and business for the last 10 years has encouraged me to talk about it. I graduated from Harvard in 1995. In the year when a person who graduated the same year as me was invited to the Harvard graduation ceremony, I was thinking that we would achieve gender equality. However, the rate of women working in senior positions, let alone 50%, has been squeezed between 15-16% for 10 years.
We have to clearly admit that the gender gap is an important issue when it comes to senior management. We must question why and how women view their abilities inferior to men and the inverse ratio between a woman's success and the love and respect she receives. This means that the more successful a woman is in her business life, the less loved it is. This shows that women need a different mentoring, encouragement and management approach.
There aren't enough women in top positions to question this. A great role falls on both men and women in this regard. As much as talking about the gender issue in business life, women need to be supported to be successful. When you hear that a woman is not loved despite being successful, take a deep breath and question this.
We all need to speak clearly that we need flexibility in business and private life. When I told in an interview a few weeks ago that I left the office at 5.30 and had dinner with my wife and children, the newspapers were shocked. One of his friends said that if I killed someone with an ax, that wouldn't happen. This situation showed me that there is still an unsolved issue for men and women. Otherwise, leaving the office at 5.30 wouldn't have been that much. We have to consider why women set a lower target for promotion to top positions compared to men.
Women don't need desk jobs, they need to sit at the head of important tables. I said I was excited to be here today to give a speech. One of the reasons for this is that it is the 50th anniversary of women's participation in education.
Tomorrow you will be scattered around the world. I have four wishes for you:
Always communicate with each other. This is very important for your future success.
Make an effort to speak and tell the truth.
Be honest and truthful with yourself.
And finally, your generation is accomplishing what our generation has failed. Create a world where half of the homes are run by men and half of the companies are women. I am so sure that it will be a much better world.