What Sheryl Sandberg Didn’t Say at Davos [video]

Facebook Inc.’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and related important ideas about women in the workplace. She said we need to be mindful of how we’re socializing boys and girls at home, and called on chief executives to implement equal maternity and paternity leave policies.

Great stuff, right? And yet we’re totally disappointed in her.

Facebook recently filed for an initial public offering (IPO) that’s expected to raise up to $10bn this spring, and which could compensate Sandberg $1.6bn, solidifying her place among the most powerful executives in America.

Because of her newfound perch at the top, when she speaks about her professional trajectory and gender equality, it’s time she acknowledges the full range of dynamics that have helped her get there.

What dynamics?

That her Whiteness has played a role in her success.

Ay, that was hard to write. And we don’t mean to target the newest billionaire simply because she’s a woman. We’re critical of representations of White male leadership, too.

Sandberg’s story goes like this:  Read more

The Whole Wide Work Hall of Fame

We’re loving on Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook Inc., because she knows what we know about professional development. And she’s talking about bringing your whole self to work so much, we’re excited to induct her into the Whole Wide Work Hall of Fame as the inaugural member. Hats off to Ms. Sandberg!

Starting today, the Hall of Fame will distinguish prominent figures who promote the ideals of engaging your whole self at work. Think someone should be inducted? Tell us who, and we’ll investigate, with a shout out to you!

So what’s the fuss about Sandberg? We’ve been wanting to write about her since Brad Stone wrote a profile in Businessweek a short while ago. The article referenced the TED Talk from December 2010 in which she spoke about women and leadership, and still somehow we couldn’t find the hook we were seeking to feature her on WWW.

Until now. In the mid-July edition of the New Yorker, Ken Auletta wrote about her in the context of men in Silicon Valley. The way she manages her self as a worker and what she demonstrates about bringing your whole self to work is pretty brilliant. From the story:

David Fischer, Facebook’s vice-president of advertising and global operations, recounts a performance review of a female executive that he and Sandberg conducted. Fischer says that he told the executive numerous times that she wasn’t assertive enough, but he felt that she wasn’t hearing him. “Sheryl jumped in after I finished and said, ‘I don’t know what you’re feeling, but I can imagine what it might be. Let me tell you about when I was younger.’ ” She recounted her own insecurities, and, he says, “I just watched this woman go from sitting there listening to me but just hearing a bunch of business-type words. . . . It just opened up the whole conversation.”

It gets better: Read more

Being Critical of a Company Can Get You Hired

Harsh thoughts and negative feelings are among the aspects of our internal life that we often strive to hide at work. Yet Sean Ryan, formerly of News Corp, demonstrates that coming out with your true thoughts, however uncomfortable, can advance your career. For Ryan, being critical of Facebook may have helped him land a plum new role at the social networking giant.

Back in April, Ryan blogged about gaming platforms, writing:

I’d strongly recommend producing a great OpenSocial version of your game and trying to strike deals with a set of SNS not named Facebook – there are lots of them around the world with 10 million or more monthly unique users…

Which was published on the Web and became part of his online footprint. Scary, right? Not at all. His sentiments built upon his breadth of knowledge on the subject, and were grounded in careful analysis. He could thus stand proudly behind his articulate trashing of the social network.

We recall Sun Tzu’s words, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” The hiring managers at Facebook may be guided by this ancient wisdom.

So feel free to speak your thoughtful mind at work. A new job, or perhaps a promotion may be awaiting you.

Have you attracted someone by criticizing them? What ensued?