Looking at 2020: 3 lessons leaders can learn from the fall of former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann, according to a millennial success coach
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Adam Neumann, former CEO and cofounder of WeWork.
- Arika Pierce is a Gen Z and millennial success coach who helps younger generations succeed in business, leadership, and life. She is the author of "The Millennial's Playbook to Adulting," a one-stop resource on everything from personal branding and networking to job hunting, finances, and health. Follow her on Instagram.
- In November 2019, WeWork announced its cutting of 2,400 employees in an effort to cut costs after staggering losses, after cancelling its IPO in September.
- While there are a number of factors that have led to WeWork's fall, many are now taking a deeper look into the impact WeWork's cofounder and former CEO Adam Neumann had on the company.
- Pierce argues that millennial leaders can learn a few things from Adam Neumann's failed leadership.
- She says to not treat your office like a frat house and not be afraid to hire people who are smarter than you. She also recommends leading with a strategic plan first, and pursuing radical ideas second.
- "Companies need structure, and while leaders should always be looking toward the future and coming up with new and innovative ideas, it's important to ensure that there is a clear plan for the path forward," she says.
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In November 2019, WeWork announced its cutting of 2,400 employees in an effort to cut costs after staggering losses. This comes as no surprise, as the company canceled its initial public offering in September 2019, and its valuation dived significantly from $47 billion to about $5 billion.
While there are a number of factors that have led to the company's fall, many are now taking a deeper look into the impact WeWork's cofounder and former CEO Adam Neumann had on the company.
Neumann was just 31 when he launched WeWork in 2010. And at 39, he was given a massive payout ($1.7 billion, to be exact) to leave the fledgling company. While some may say screwing up never looked so good, what this also reveals is how much the investment firm backing WeWork wanted him out and how much of a liability he had become for the company.
Is Neumann a serial entrepreneur, a visionary with great imagination and new ideas? Of course. Was he ready to lead a multibillion-dollar company, manage and guide employees, and take WeWork to the next level? I think we know the answer to that.
Unfortunately, many millennial leaders don't have the right tools to lead effectively. Some are able to figure it out with on-the-job training, and some quickly stumble much like Neumann. Whether you are leading a team of two, 25, or 200, here are three leadership lessons that we can all learn from Neumann's fall from the top.
Lesson #1: You aren't in college anymore, and your office is not a frat house
Lesson #2: Lead with a strategic plan first, insert radical ideas second
Lesson #3: Don't be afraid to hire people smarter than you
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