Marissa Mayer is being paid to run Yahoo; she has a fiduciary responsibility to Yahoo's board and shareholders. From my perspective as a former equity analyst and investor, she is doing precisely what I would expect her to do — helm a company, not be the poster girl for someone's pet cause.
Was her delivery of the ‘no remote work' news ham-handed? Was this a step back for flexible work? Near-term, yes.
Am I thrilled she made a tough decision knowing she would come under fire, and thus bungled the messaging because that's what some humans do when we are scared; we get just a little draconian and hide behind memos…?
This decision to tighten the reins would have been a tough call for any CEO. It was especially perilous for a female CEO, unseasoned to boot. Research reminds us over and again that women are considered feminine only when we are giving something to someone else — when we are yes-men. In saying no to remote work, fiduciary responsibility notwithstanding, Mayer not only risked the tantrum-throwing that comes when we have our toys (um, perks) taken away, she risked her femininity being assailed, being accused of not being nice.
She said no anyway.
I don't know if Ms. Mayer can turn Yahoo around. But as a CEO, I give her high marks. She's doing a pretty good job of being a grown-up too.
What about you?
Would you have the courage to do something you knew was right, but would be unpopular?