Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

Leadership Blog

The Leading of Yahoo (and other organizations that have lost their way)

On July 17th Marissa Mayer, the former Google executive started her new job as CEO of Yahoo. Setting aside the jaw-dropping financial package secured by Ms. Mayer, one might question the wisdom of leaving Google to join Yahoo. After all, Google has clearly won the search engine war. In addition, Google has effectively monetized key product lines and diversified its revenue model. Alternatively, Yahoo has been losing market share, changing leadership, and appearing dead-in-the-water for years. Yet, Yahoo still has a handful of competencies that they do very well. They also have a global footprint and a well-recognized moniker. So what is Ms. Mayer to do? Well, here are my thoughts: 

  1. Identify a few product lines in which Yahoo’s capabilities are the best in the world. Then, focus and go deep on those product lines.
  2. Jettison all other, non-essential product lines.
  3. Rebrand with a laser-focus on clearly defined, easy to understand product lines. Note: An entirely new perception of Yahoo will need to be created during this process. Recall that Apple used to be perceived as a computer manufacturer and now they are thought of as much for their phones and how easy they make it for people to connect and gather information as they are for their computers.
  4. Succinctly and frequently communicate with internal colleagues, the marketplace, and with investors. In sum, over-communicate just what business Yahoo is in and why it matters.
  5. Stick to your guns. In other words, Ms. Mayer will need to give investors, the marketplace, and internal colleagues an opportunity to acclimate to Yahoo’s rebranding changes. Over the past few years Yahoo’s strategy has been a moving target. The new leadership must give Yahoo’s corporate culture a chance to change, embrace a rebrand, and stabilize.
  6. Celebrate victories and breakthroughs. Not a lot of celebration has occurred in Yahoo’s corner of Silicon Valley of late. This needs to change. Ms. Mayer should lead the celebratory bandwagon and rejoice any type of small, medium, or large victory she observes.


The above stated strategies are by no means reserved solely for Yahoo. Any business or corporate division that has lost its way but still possesses great potential can embrace these actions. The implementation of these ideas simply calls for a pragmatic leader who crafts an attainable vision for her people. Her laser-focus and drive, coupled with motivated team members will take care of the rest.


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Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. Doug’s book, Leadership Simplified, as well as CDs and DVDs are available at www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about coaching and training services, contact Doug today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). 

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-07-30 at 05:00 PM
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