Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sue Decker's First Act in her new Role

As reported yesterday in TechCrunch and elsewhere, Sue Decker has sent out her new Org Chart/Org Design for the newly created Advertising Group which she now heads up (in addition to her CFO duties until Yahoo! hires her successor).
The email is long and detailed. Mike Arrington complained that there was too much "corporate-speak" in it. But it is polished, thorough, and politically sensitive. So, my congratulations to Sue on this initial step.
My biggest two suggestions for her continued leadership development is:
(1) Watch the acronyms and the over-referencing to the various Yahoo! departments. Sue, as indicated in her memo but also in the last analysts' call, is very bright and moves at a fast pace. She has a tendency to fall into over-using the acronyms and having listeners (like Arrington) get lost with the references to the various different Yahoo! groups. She always needs to be clear that she's explaining what the various groups do and how they are delivering value to Yahoo!'s customers/users/shareholders, so that we all understand it.
(2) Slow down. Sue speaks very quickly. This can accentuate issue 1 above. She needs to slow down to more effectively communicate.
She will obviously be judged over the coming months for her ability to have Advertising deliver the goods. I predict she will be successful.
Her memo demonstrates what's lacking in the Audience group without a leader in place. However, Yahoo! is better off in the long-run to take the time to find the right person rather than have had Dan take the spot. I hope they'll announce someone very soon.
I would finally encourage Sue to consider giving up her board seats with Intel and Costco. While they signify how highly regarded she is by these two companies, as a Yahoo! shareholder, I don't understand where she finds the time to effectively do her new job, still do her old job, and also do the paperwork required to sit on those two boards. Yahoo! and its shareholders would be better off if Sue Decker had one job and could focus solely on that.

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