Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yahoo is Good People

To all you budding big-shots out there, Yahoo's Chief Marketing Officer Cammie Dunaway is a great role model for how you should treat people. This year, through the Stanford GSB program called board fellows, I had the pleasure of sitting on the board of directors (along with Cammie) of the Silicon Valley chapter of Junior Achievement.

As part of a consulting project I did for Junior Achievement, I emailed several other board members to set up interviews/discussions. Within 5 minutes of emailing Camie, I received an email response from her. Later that week, we spoke as she waited for her flight in the Milwaukee Airport. I was highly impressed by her responsiveness to my request and her level of engagement during our conversation. She is literally one of the most powerful people in Silicon Valley; doing little stuff like this makes the worker-bees (like me) feel good and is generally a decent way to behave.

I, on the otherhand, am not really a good role model for responsiveness. Let me repeat Charles Barkley style--I am not a role model. Below is semi-fictionalized account of my email interactions with the organizer of a program in Australia that I'm participating in this summer:

Organizer: [June 1st] Rohin, we're pleased to offer you a spot here in Australia. Please fill out these two forms by June 15th.

Me: [on June 16th] Thanks so much for the offer. Enclosed is the form. Sorry I'm a little late.

Organizer: [on June 17th] Rohin, thanks for the message. Unfortunately, you only completed one of the forms. Could you please fill out the second form.

Me: [On June 25th] Oh my, sorry about that! I will absolutely fill out this form tomorrow.

Organizer: [On July 5th] Rohin, hope you had a good holiday. The fireworks certainly were lovely. Anyhow, I don't believe we ever received the second form. Were you ever going to fill out the second form so we can process your application?

A few days later, I did fill out the form, but I really put the organizer through the ringer to get it. This was odd behavior on my part since the guy was basically doing this only for my benefit. Clearly, this is something I need to work on, but luckily I'm not in a position of any authority.

I took a class this year with John Morgridge, the Chairman and former-CEO of Cisco Systems. He related that his successor, the current CEO, John Chambers walks every visitor he gets down to the front desk at the end of their meeting. Does he have to do this? No, but it's a great way to signal that he cares.

This may be my only post that is touchy feely. As such, this post is dedicated to the one and only Lizzie Fisher!

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