Part of the secret of Mark Zuckerberg’s success is the way he engages the organization through clear Mission and consistent Values.

By Jennifer Marley

Recently I saw the movie The Social Network.  Based on the amount of discussion I was having with others after seeing it, I realized that there is something in the story that seems to touch a chord in all of us.  There’s the business tale and there are the personal stories.  Post-movie discussions have centered on values, on breaking trusts, on the differences of the millennial generation and even about Asberger’s.    I found an interesting report while trying to distill the truth from movie fiction.  This report by Business Insider discussed the interesting ‘story behind the story’…for example, Ben Mezrich wrote the book Accidental Billionaires (which was the basis for the movie) after insistence by jilted co-founder Eduardo Saverin.  That was something I wasn’t expecting as The Social Network hadn’t struck me as a character defamation piece.

On the business side, The Social Network demonstrated Facebooks’ Mission and Values very clearly.  For more insight into these, watch the 30 minute Business Insider interview with Mark Zuckerberg that took place before the launch of the movie.  Everything that Facebook does is an embodiment of Facebook’s Mission and Values.

Facebook’s Mission:

Giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

Facebooks’ Values:

–  Move Fast

–  Build Things (don’t be afraid to Break Things)

In the movie, and in the Business Insider video interview, Mark Zuckerberg talks about how he started out just trying to build something great; something that would make the world a more open place…he was not out to build another website or a business.  Interestingly, this premise also ties to the Hedgehog written about in Good to Great (author Jim Collins).  Paraphrasing, the ‘Good to Great Hedgehog’ talks about great businesses being at the intersection of three circles:

–  what you are best in the world at

–  what you have passion for

–  what you can monetize into a business

By focusing on the first two circles, Mark Zuckerberg and the other founders of Facebook have channelled their passion and certainly created something great.  Facebook’s numbers speak for the success.  By the end of 2010, Facebook reached over 550 Million active users, spanning more than 180 countries and 70 languages, ….sounds like ‘making the world more open and connected’ place to me.

The third circle of the Hedgehog has proven itself out as well.  Facebook has monetized it’s business.  At only 26 years of age, Mark Zuckerberg is one of the world’s youngest billionaires.  By signing on to Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s initiative called the “Giving Pledge,” Mark has agreed to give over half of his wealth to charity (either during his lifetime or upon his death).  Mark was recently named TIME Magazine’s “2010 Person of the Year”.

May we all learn from the clarity with which Mark Zuckerberg and team have Engaged their Organization behind a clear Mission.  If you haven’t yet seen the movie The Social Network movie, you should do so.  I predict that this will be nominated for an Academy Award.   Great acting; Great subject.