Sheryl Sandberg Shares What She Learned About Growing Teams for Facebook and Google

In the latest episode of Masters of Scale, the Facebook COO opens up about lessons learned with Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn cofounder and Greylock partner.
Entrepreneur Staff

Editor’s Note: In the new podcast Masters of Scale, LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman explores his philosophy on how to scale a business -- and at Entrepreneur.com, entrepreneurs are responding with their own ideas and experiences on our hub. This week, we’re discussing Hoffman’s theory: to lead an organization to scale, you have to be as skilled at breaking plans as you are at making them.

 

Leading a team of 10 is much different than leading one of 100, or even 1,000. Not everyone can scale as the team grows. Not everyone is Sheryl Sandberg.

“I believe to lead an organization to scale, you have to be as skilled at breaking plans as you are at making them,” says Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner, in the fifth episode of Masters of Scale, a podcast series in which he explores counterintuitive theories to growing a company.

Related: Check Out a New Podcast Hosted by Reid Hoffman -- And Join the Conversation on Entrepreneur.com

And Sandberg seems to have the secret sauce to do just that. After working at the U.S. Treasury, she made the leap into the world of tech, working under Eric Schmidt at Google from 2001 to 2011. During this time, her team went from four to 4,000 before she left to become COO at Facebook.

As the size of her teams have grown, Sandberg needed to learn to grow with them – which wasn’t always easy, even for her.

“When our team was growing I interviewed everyone who joined globally and when we were at 100 people I noticed that the queue for my interview was holding up our hiring process,” she tells Hoffman about her days at Google. She decided to meet with her direct reports, seeing if it was okay if she stepped out of the hiring process. Sandberg was expecting blowback, thinking they would say, “You’re a great interviewer. We need your personal recommendation.”

Instead, they applauded her decision to let go. “I thought to myself, ‘I’ve become a bottleneck and you didn’t tell me and that’s on me.”’

Related: Why You Should Walk the Line Between Company Culture and Your Individual Leadership Style

In the fourth episode of Masters of Scale, called “Lead, Lead Again,” Sandberg shares with Hoffman a story about a birthday cake, how her PowerPoint ban took a turn for the worse and the pillars she believes makes a great leader.

For more anecdotes and lessons from Walker's journey to scale, check out the latest episode of this new series below. Listeners can also access the podcast on Apple, Google, Stitcher, Spotify and other streaming platforms.

 
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