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7 17 11 Fostering a Culture of Dissent

7 17 11 Fostering a Culture of Dissent - By ADAM BRYANT...

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Fostering a Culture of Dissent By ADAM BRYANT Published: July 16, 2011 Sign In to E-Mail   Print   Reprints   This interview with  David Sacks , founder, chairman and C.E.O. of Yammer, which offers  workplace communication tools, was conducted and condensed by  Adam Bryant .   Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times David Sacks is founder, chairman and C.E.O. of Yammer, which offers workplace communication tools. “We let employees voice their opinions about everything,” he says. “There's no sense that, O.K., I am an engineer, therefore I can't voice my opinion about what's happening in customer service or sales.” Corner Office Every Sunday, Adam Bryant talks with top executives about the challenges of leading and managing. In his new book,  " The Corner Office " (Times Books), he analyzes the broader lessons that emerge from his interviews with more than 70  leaders.  Excerpt » More ‘Corner Office’ Columns » Subscribe to Corner Office via RSS » Q.  What are the most important leadership lessons you’ve learned?  
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A.  I’d say probably the most formative experiences came when I was at PayPal because it was  this three-year experience going from zero to a $1.5 billion company. At the time we sold the  company we had about at least 700 employees. I think about 500 were reporting to me.  One of the things that Peter Thiel, our C.E.O. at PayPal, did extremely well was just to focus  on the few things that were the most important issues at that time, and make sure we got  those right. And he was a very good delegator. So that was a great lesson. But at the same  time, I saw that some very small product decisions had a disproportionate impact on the  business. And you just can’t always delegate those things. You have to be willing to get  involved and make sure that the work gets done properly.  And so I say that my own style would be like some sort of balance or synthesis of that, where  I try to focus on the biggest-picture issues, but at the same time some aspects are so  important that I have to get involved at a pretty detailed level.  Q.   What else in terms of leadership?   A.  I have an open door policy. Anyone can walk into my office and start talking to me. I also  walk around the office and just start talking to people about what they’re working on. I’m  not trying to micromanage what they’re doing, but I am trying to find out what they’re  working on and talk to them about it.  Anybody can ask me questions and debate me. You could be a new employee and you can  start getting into a debate with me about something. The start-up culture is very democratic  in general. I think you need that in order to attract good people. You’ve really got to create a 
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