February 12, 2018
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Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s Top 10 Rules for Success

She is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook and founder of

Leanin.org (also known as the Lean In Foundation). Her estimated net worth is reported to be over one billion dollars. Before she joined Facebook as its COO, Sandberg was vice president at Google, and was involved in launching Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org.
She’s Sheryl Sandberg, and here are her top ten rules for success:

Rule 1: Have Impact

You’re trying to have impact. You’re trying to have the things you do, the things that you spend your time doing, have impact, meaning change something around the world. And for me, I think the lesson is really simple, and it’s particularly important in the era in which we live, and for me the industry in which I work, which is that this is about scale.

Having impact is all about how you do something that scales. And by scale I mean things that can have broad impact beyond the one-to-one interaction you have as a person.

Rule #2: Think Big

I think the most important thing about growing a business successfully, is thinking ahead, about where you’re going to be. So I think about the three tips you have for scaling your organization. The first and I think the most important is to think big.

People think about how do you manage, how do you motivate an organization. And they think about management, basically the science of administering a business, or leadership. My favourite definition of leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.When you have a big vision, when you’re thinking really big, something that can change the world, that’s the kind of thing that excites people and motivates them.

Rule #3: Go For Growth

I think the most common mistake I see people make, and men make this mistake too, but women do a lot, is they’re too worried about the upward trajectory, and not worried enough about growth.

When I went to Google, Google was like 250 people, I was going to be a business unit general manager, except there were no business units. But I really believed in what Google was doing and Eric Schmidt gave me great career advice, he said, go for growth. Growth moves everyone up. If it’s growing it works.

At the time, a lot of people asked me, what are you doing? You’re going to work for a 23-year old, you know? But what I saw was something that mattered. Facebook mattered, with authentic identity, and an opportunity for growth.
And so at each stage, I cared less about my level than I have about the underlying growth. And I do think this is really important for everyone to know.

Rule #4: Communicate Authentically

How do you communicate authentically? How do you figure out what to say and what not to say in a way that’s authentic? It starts from the fundamental understanding that there is no truth.

There’s my truth, there’s your truth and everything is subjective. And so if you always start from the position of this is what I believe, I don’t expect you to believe it, I don’t think you have to believe it, I’m not saying it’s true, you can actually always communicate authentically.

What do you believe? If you share your truth in that language, you give people room to authenticate, to communicate authentically. And that is hugely important to these relationships at any stage.

Rule #5: Hire Big

I think you have to hire big. And big, I don’t mean famous, I mean ahead of where you are. So when you’re growing an organization really quickly what happens is that what normally takes an organization years, happens in a period of just months.

So, when I was at Google, my team went from four to 4,000 in about five years. That means that if you look at those first four people I hired, in order for them to be part of the people who were running that organization, they need to do about 10 or 15 years worth of growing and getting experience, in a much shorter period of time.

So if you think you’re going to grow quickly, hire for what you think you’re going to need. Over hire. Hire people who are more qualified, have more experience.

I don’t think it’s the number of years in the workforce that matters, I think it’s hiring the people now that you’re going to need then, because then happens so quickly.

Rule #6: Don’t Just Talk, Really Listen!

I really believe we lead best, when we walk side by side with our colleagues.

And to achieve this, you’re going to have to do the opposite of what I’m doing right now. You’re going to have to not just talk, but really listen. And you have to go one step further, which is not just listen, but find a way to get people to actually tell you the truth.

Rule #7: Take Responsibility

There is no such thing as complete control. No one has complete control in any situation. People that lead organizations in some ways have less, because not only do they have to control what they do, they have to persuade everyone else, what they do.

Not: “I’m not late because there was traffic”, but “I’m late because I didn’t leave early enough to account for the fact that there was traffic”.

When you take responsibility and you take full responsibility, that is the most empowering thing. You have to do it if you’re trying to persuade people to work with you, you have to do it all stages.

Rule #8: Measure Results, Not Face Time

One of the things I talk about in my book is the importance of measuring results, not facetime. If you as a company measure facetime (hours at the office), you will be rewarded with facetime. If you talk about the people who are working really hard, rather than the people who are getting great results, people will work very hard but not focus on results.

In my job at Facebook, Mark and I try to run the company very focused on results. We had one employee, actually for a while, who famously was one of our absolutely highest performers, but just didn’t like to be in the office very much at all.

And we would publicly applaud him. No one’s seen Shemoth in a week, but look what’s happening. And we were publicly saying his results were amazing. If he feels like doing it, sitting in his basement, go ahead. Now, not every company can do that, different companies have different constraints, but many more companies can do this.

Rule #9: Find Something You Really Believe In

The best kind of leadership starts by finding something you really believe in. Facebook exists because Mark Zuckerberg believed that the world would be a better place if we all used technology to share and connect. He believed in that enough to drop out of school at 19, and he believed in it enough to hang onto that vision and hold onto it, even when people tried to take it away from him over the years.

I joined Facebook, along with so many others, because I too believe in that vision. And now it’s the most important part of my job, to keep myself and everyone else at Facebook maniacally focused on what we are trying to do, day in and day out.

So start, start by finding a company you believe in, a product you love, something, a cause you really, really care about. Because not only will you inspire yourself, will you be inspired, but you in turn will inspire others. And that’s the most critical part of great leadership.

Great leaders want real excitement, genuine enthusiasm, real commitment.

Great leaders don’t just win the minds of their team, they win their hearts.

Great leaders don’t just issue commands, they heed the voices of those around them.

Rule #10: Careers Are Not Ladders, But Jungle Gyms

Careers are not ladders, those days are long gone, but jungle gyms. Don’t just move up and down. Don’t just look up, look backwards, sideways, around corners. Your career and your life will have starts and stops, and zigs and zags.

Don’t stress out about the white space, the path you can’t draw, because therein lies both the surprises and the opportunities.

Love always,


Margaret Hirsch
Margaret Hirsch
Hirsch COO runs South Africa’s top independence appliance company that specialises in all appliances, electronics, furniture and bedding. They give the best deals and the best prices and everything is guaranteed.