Get Out of Your Office: 6 Things We Learned from Facebook

We've talked before about how important is is for leaders to have the mindset of learners. Each year, Shane, David and I have dedicate a few days to go on a learning tour.  A learning tour is usually a site visit where we talk with people from organizations we admire. A few years ago, we had the opportunity to visit the Facebook headquarters in California. A friend of ours worked there and gave us a tour of the campus and shared valuable insights into the culture there. 

Facebook's cultural values displayed are all over their campus.  There are banners, t-shirts and signs reminding everyone of these axioms. Here are six that I thought were unique and thought-provoking: 

1. Done is better than perfect. 

At Facebook, there is a bias toward action and grace toward making mistakes.  It doesn't have to be perfect. It needs to get done.

2. Stay focused and keep shipping. 

3. Move fast and break things. 

Interestingly, this is contrary to the research in Jim Collins’ book Great by Choice which talks about the value of consistency and steady plodding. I'm not suggesting we have to pick one. I just wonder if moving fast and breaking things competes with consistency and steady plodding?

4. What would you do if you weren't afraid? 

5. Fortune favors the bold. 

6. Code wins arguments.  

I found this particularly helpful.  The intent is this: instead of debating the validity of an idea, build a prototype.  Test it out. Write the code and react to what you build instead of debating a theoretical argument. 

When you're in the daily grind, it can be difficult to see past the way that your company does things. Spending time with other successful companies and leaders can challenge and inspire you to think just a little bit different.

Not everyone has a contact at the Facebook headquarters, but you know someone who either runs a successful company or is a leader within a successful organization. If you know an owner, ask to visit their office for the day. If it's a successful leader, ask them to meet you for coffee and pick their brains about why their company culture works well.