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SNHU - MBA-550 - Leading in an Organization
Written by: Chris Bell - May, 2017

Executive Team Building at Facebook

Analysis of Executive Team Building Practices, Theory, Concepts and Techniques

Some of the cognitive factors that relate to Mark Zuckerberg's early team building practices are skill based and task oriented. He specifically wanted software engineers that could work hard under pressure so he started a campus competition of solving programming equations while they were drinking alcohol with a large and loud audience over their shoulders. The winners were awarded a job and a stake in the company, while the most recognized was Dustin Moskovitz. Once Facebook became funded by Clarium Capital in 2004 there was a hiring spree that was geared towards extrapolating the current vision into many more colleges locally, nationally and globally. Entering into each school required a spokesperson lead by Chris Hughes, financing with the help of venture capital companies and programming or software engineering lead by Dustin Moskovitz.

Zuckerberg had a trustworthy team that helped him in each area of the company and after about 5-6 years hired Sheryl Sandberg as COO with a very impressive track record of LEAN operations by founding her own foundation and working for Google. Sandberg has creative ideas that reward employees for coming up with automated ways of completing tasks instead of hiring more people as they grow and start new projects. Zuckerberg is humble and modest in certain ways so he doesn't have a problem admitting when he isn't the right person for a certain job, and he's been very impressed with Sheryl. She left Google and started at Facebook in 2007 and Facebook experienced extreme growth over the next few years, in which Sheryl was given praise for her accomplishments. "Part of the reason for that sales growth is Ms. Sandberg's close ties to many of the world's largest advertisers, relationships she first developed as a senior executive at Google. (Helft, 2010)" The article goes on to discuss their excellent relationship, "One of the reasons the company is doing so well is because the two of them get along so well," says Mike Schroepfer, vice president for engineering. (Helft, 2010)" He trusts her as part of his in-group to create her team, flag problems and create solutions.

He also hired David Wehner as CFO who had been the CFO of other companies, including, in the past. From the very start of Facebook, or even before it was technically created at all, Mark said he wasn't much of a business person and that he was more content with creating something cool. So he started by offering 30% of the company to one of his roommates, Eduardo Saverin, and gave him the title of CFO. Mark had already created a few pieces of software that he never chose to sell, which was fine, but Eduardo took his position seriously and tried to find advertisers for the company. He pushed far too hard for Mark because Mark didn't want the website to be full of advertisements, so the relationship ended in an ugly fashion and Mark learned a good lesson about hiring team members that understand his vision and philosophy. Later, Mark developed a great relationship with his new CFO, David Wehner, and has trust in him to work on his vision for the future.

Mark is a leader that knows when he needs help in certain areas and he hired Sheryl and David for exactly that. "One of those things that the media just constantly gets wrong is this idea that it's a person. It's never a person. It's always a team. - Mark Zuckerberg (Watson, n.d.)" The in-group team has a great working and personal relationship into 2017 and it appears to be one that will go into the future. "The company encourages its workers to form teams around projects they're passionate about, because Facebook's leaders clearly understand that great work comes out of doing what you adore. Not only does this approach ensure that employees give their best to the project, but it also provides opportunities for career growth based on smarts and competence, not on credentials. (Walter, 2013)"

Results of Leadership Actions Related to Organizational Behavior Best Practices

The organizational structure at Facebook is clearly successful due to very little turnover in chief executives, happiness of employees and incredibly fast growth throughout their years. Some of the specific leadership actions resulted in a public craving for access to his website such as how he started with a vision of an exclusive club that required a email address. Harvard is built on exclusivity so the students liked how they could be a part of the club while others looked in from the outside. The result was clear so Mark decided to include a few more schools and slowly grew the awareness of the website. He took his in-group team to California "where all the action is" so that he could grow within the technology sector of the world. He probably had about 10-15 employees working in a home in California working on integrating each new school into the platform.

While Mark wasn't interested in money, profits or advertisements, he knew that he needed help and funding. He and Sean Parker ended up meeting with Clarium Capital and received an investment of $500,000 to find office space, set up equipment and hire staff with a specific growth plan. The vision was simple, integrate Facebook into each college one by one. Once they hit about 1 million users he began to search for help with leadership because he had too many employees to manage while also thinking about his vision for the future. But Mark never took his eyes off of growth and future outlook, even through multiple lawsuits. "I spend probably 25 per cent of my time recruiting, finding good people, both outside the company and inside the company, to put them in more impactful roles. - Mark Zuckerberg (Watson, n.d.)" Mark is a true leader that can give praise to others, selflessly tell the media that it was a team effort and relinquish control over areas of the company so he can focus on what he does best.


Helft, M. (2010). Mark Zuckerberg's Most Valuable Friend. Retrieved from:

Walter, E. (May, 2014). Lessons about Building a Team from Zuckerberg and Facebook. Retrieved from:

Watson, J. (n.d.). The team building philosophy behind a successful company. Retrieved from: