Is Google Failing on Leadership Change Management?

It’s one thing to write in theory about leadership change management and another to see it in action. When you read this, think of how your own organization would manage change and the communication of it.

Google engineer, Steve Yegge, wrote the following message for internalGoogl+ "Failure" and leadership change management crisis communication. It wound up being published to the public. Oops! We saw it on Business Insider. But, what’s more interesting from a leadership perspective is the communication with upper management about what’s wrong with a key product, Google+.

Google+ is a prime example of our complete failure to understand platforms from the very highest levels of executive leadership (hi Larry, Sergey, Eric, Vic, howdy howdy) down to the very lowest leaf workers (hey yo). We all don’t get it.  Steve Yegge, Google engineer.

Yegge is trying to tell management and his peers that they need to change how they compete with Facebook. He mentions how Google is successful because of its search but that it is failing in new products. 

Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product. But that’s not why they are successful. Facebook is successful because they built an entire constellation of products by allowing other people to do the work. So Facebook is different for everyone. Some people spend all their time on Mafia Wars. Some spend all their time on Farmville. There are hundreds or maybe thousands of different high-quality time sinks available, so there’s something there for everyone.

This is a prime example of the need for leadership change management in action. Will this engineer be fired for being so blunt? Will Google executives hear the alarm bells and change? Or, will they keep doing what they’ve been doing? After all, change is hard when you’re still making a ton of dough. This comment on Business Insider, poses the question that could apply to any organization in a similar situation facing massive change:  

TechnologEase on Oct 13, 2:38 AM said:

Really interested in seeing what happens to this guy. Very few upper level managers and senior execs have the fortitude be open to criticism or to even listen to what someone on the ground floor has to say. It’s pride and ego. I’ve seen and experienced it myself too many times and very recently at that. They’d much rather stand behind one of their own and try and save face rather than admit they were wrong by DOING something about it (which is the admission in and of itself, seemingly, that few have the gumption to do.)

Dude’s on the money too. That’s the thing. You can be dead right and still be dead — all over ego and arrogance. I hope they listen. They should promote this guy..

Has something similar happened in your own organization? What do you think Google leaders should do to manage this change?

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