I just got finished reading this article about what Jack Dorsey has been doing in his first 90 days since he has returned to Twitter as CEO. And, I found the piece a really great lesson plan for people that wanted to study what not to do when you are looking at turning around a business and organization.
I’m sure that the lesson that most people will take from reading and article like this is: “Wow, look at how HARD Jack Dorsey works! He is really crushing it.”
But the lessons we should be learning are about what he is doing that is setting Twitter up for further quickening of their decline as an essential social media tool and into the dustbin of Internet artifacts like dial up AOL, MySpace, and Friendster.
First, is Twitter so much of a mess than they couldn’t convince one person to handle the job of CEO as his/her primary focus?
While I appreciate anyone that has control over the schedules and dedicates the effort and focus on creating a structured work day, splitting your time between two companies in a back and forth manner, one in the morning and one at night is a definite warning sign to any wise employee, investor, or potential partner…and it should flash in really big, shining lights that: HEY! WE ARE LIKELY GOING TO BE ALL OVER THE PLACE!
Which actually is a concern of many of the employees that work at Twitter. In recent months, more and more actions and focus has been placed on the number and quality of people leaving Twitter for somewhere, anywhere else.
And, in the 90 days that Jack has been back at the helm of Twitter, he hasn’t really stopped that from happening, but maybe he has made a few, well timed saves and sales pitches that have kept people around.
How long can that last?
But the biggest issue is buried towards the end of the piece when the writer discusses some of the infighting and, here’s the magic word for me, and it should be magic for anyone in an executive leadership position: alignment…
At Twitter, the lack of alignment and infighting caused by a lack of consistent direction is spilling over into the offices and cubicles!
This isn’t the kind of environment that screams: TURNAROUND!
In fact, this seems to highlight how quickly and dangerously Twitter can go from being a complete necessity and vital tool for social media fans, journalists, breaking news, sports, etc…and how it can quickly become an afterthought.
My advice for Jack Dorsey and his team would be 3 things:
1. Find a better way to manage the CEO role. No more of this part time CEO deal. It sends the wrong message to your investors, employees, and supporters at two companies: Twitter and Square.
2. Get your executive management on the same page. Lack of alignment is the key to failure for almost every organization I have ever been involved in and when it doesn’t bring down an operation, it definitely wounds it!
3. Look for some ways to give your team a few tangible short term wins so that you can begin rebuilding the trust and camaraderie that you will need to stop the slide that Twitter is in the middle of currently.