Leadership

Friday Buzz: Facebook's Whiteboard Problem

By / Feb 26, 2016

This week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reprimanded his own workers over the response to the Black Lives Matter movement within his company. Also: Instead of making enemies when fighting Shadow IT, make allies.

Mark Zuckerberg had a challenging, unenviable leadership problem to deal with this week, one steeped in racial politics.

Facebook’s offices are known for their “signature wall,” where people can scrawl basically anything using dry-erase markers. The concept is very popular within the company, but in recent weeks the scrawls have taken a political turn. Long story short: Some employees have written the phrase “Black Lives Matter” on walls, and other employees have crossed it out, replacing it with “All Lives Matter.”

Zuckerberg, whose company has struggled with diversity issues, ultimately decided to speak up against the vandalism of the “Black Lives Matter” phrases.

“Despite my clear communication at Q&A last week that this was unacceptable, and messages from several other leaders across the company, this has happened again,” Zuckerberg said in an internal memo leaked to Gizmodo. “I was already very disappointed by this disrespectful behavior before, but after my communication I now consider this malicious as well.”

Zuckerberg’s approach to a contentious issue, however, is nonetheless worth checking out, because he used the opportunity to highlight the importance of diversity within the company. The company will hold an event next month to discuss the Black Lives Matter movement and is encouraging employees to attend.

Don’t Ban Shadow IT, But …

Shadow IT can be a real pain for any organization to deal with, especially if you don’t get a handle on it right away. But, according to the IT consultancy Delcor, the best approach to handling it isn’t with an iron fist but with a soft touch. In other words, don’t outlaw it; instead, get other departments on your side.

“Your goal as the resident technologist is to give staff the tools they need while also protecting the data entrusted to your organization,” the company’s Dan Lautman writes. “If you want staff to turn to you first, you need to increase their sense of trust in the IT department. Demonstrate your desire to understand their work, goals, limitations, and opportunities. They’ll see that you’re ‘for real’ and welcome your assistance and advice less begrudgingly.”

Sometimes, bringing things out of the shadows requires taking away the reasons to hide them in the first place.

Other Links of Note

If you haven’t yet moved away from the email app Mailbox, today’s your deadline to do so. Lifehacker has a list of great alternatives.

Treat your CMS like a maker movement. That’s the advice of CMSWire contributor Ross Freedman.

Making your own videos can be an expensive endeavor if you’re not careful. Association Media & Publishing has some tips to get you started.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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