Analyzing Zoom's Leadership Team

Lately, I've been using Crystal to analyze the leadership teams of my favorite companies.

Why am I doing this? A few reasons:

  • See if there are common patterns that emerge across the executive teams at successful companies.
  • See how much of an impact the Founder/CEO has on the personalities of the rest of their company (i.e. how strong is founder DNA?).
  • See if there are lessons or red flags that we can draw from the psychological profiles of these leadership teams.
  • See what differences exist between competitors (i.e. Uber vs Lyft) and how that impacts the future of their businesses.

So far, the results have been very interesting. I've discovered that:

  • Most executive teams (predictably) shade towards Dominance on the personality map, but within that region, they are wildly diverse from each other.
  • Leadership teams cluster (loosely) around their Founder on the personality map, implying that to some degree, founders tend to hire leaders with similar personality traits.
  • However, in terms of trait intensity, Founders are often outliers on their teams (i.e. they tend to be the most extreme version of their personality type among their peers).

Zoom

Today, I'm looking at Zoom, one of the world’s leading video conferencing services. Zoom has seen a huge influx of users over the last few weeks. As the Coronavirus spreads, people all around the world are suddenly having to work, socialize, and attend school from home, which has led many people to turn to video conferencing to help them communicate with others.

Zoom has done uniquely well in response to the skyrocketing demand. Eric Yuan, Zoom’s Founder and CEO, has been communicating well in the news, while Kelley Steckelberg, the Chief Financial Officer, has been openly sharing how they’re ramping up their operations so quickly. Overall, everything seems to be going smoothly, which is a major accomplishment in such a drastic circumstance. What I’ve learned, through analyzing their personalities through their LinkedIn pages, is that a lot of Zoom’s success has to do with the personality DNA of their leadership team.

Group Report

Below are the people who make up most of Zoom’s leadership team as well as the team’s overall personality makeup from the Group Report I created.

breakdown

Based on the report overview, this is what we can expect from Zoom’s team dynamic:

This group is likely to have a fast-paced culture that values individual personal achievement and ambition. Because the group is composed mostly of confident, assertive people, communication tends to be direct and may, at times, seem harsh or aggressive to the people in the group who are more geared toward collaboration.

Zoom

Right off the bat, Zoom is almost completely on the left side of the DISC Personality Map (above). While leadership teams tend to have plenty of D-types, considering many leaders need to be comfortable addressing conflict, taking charge, or assuming responsibility, this specific team also has a couple of C-types, as well. 

Though C-types, like Richard and Brendan, are not as common in major leadership teams, this is likely why Zoom was uniquely positioned for the rapid increase in demand. Their marketing, technical, and support infrastructures were all able to scale at an unexpectedly fast rate likely due to the careful planning and preparation done by the detail-oriented, cautious thinkers on their team.

Beyond their ability to prepare for a fairly unprecedented scenario, the Zoom team is skilled in other ways that have helped them thrive during this time. 

Some of their strengths as a group include:

  • Holding each other accountable
  • Pushing each other to move faster when needed
  • Communicating directly and clearly with each other

Their blend of personalities forms a team that is skilled in raw execution, clear communication, and quick decision-making which helps them form and execute plans quickly.  

For example, Eric, Kelly, and Janine naturally bring energy and sense of urgency to the team to spur the group to make fast decisions, while Richard is able to ask challenging questions to make sure those decisions hold water. 

Without the C-types, the confident, decisive D-types may rush into a decision too quickly, but without the wide variety of D-types, the careful, logical C-types may have a harder time confidently making necessary last-minute decisions.

Individual Personalities

There are a couple of people on Zoom’s team who are unique fits to this group, based on their job titles. By this, I mean that someone with their personality type often works in a different type of position. These specific fits helped them succeed and prove that every circumstance/company need is different.

Kelly Steckelberg, Chief Financial Officer

As a Driver (Di) type, Kelly is not the typical CFO. Often, the title of CFO is associated with more analytical, detail-oriented personalities, like a Skeptic (Cd), Questioner (CD), or Architect (Dc). 

However, as a more extroverted Driver type, Kelly is likely a more naturally skilled communicator, who is able to discuss the financial aspects of the company with others more easily and optimistically than a more reserved C-type CFO might. Her strengths are evident in the many interviews she’s done for the company over the past year.

Oded Gal, Chief Product officer

Oded Gal is likely responsible for how well Zoom’s product has scaled over the past couple of weeks. While many Product Officers tend to be natural Motivators (I), Influencers (Id), or other I-types, Oded is an Architect (Dc).

As a more careful, cautious Architect, Oded was able to think thoroughly about the details, ensure specific contingency plans were in place, and plan everything out well enough to handle this crisis - all things that may not have come as naturally to other Motivator or Influencer Product Officers.

Learn More About Other Groups

Ultimately, Zoom has really proven its worth over the past few weeks. You can’t imagine a bigger opportunity for them to succeed or fail than everyone in the world immediately needing access to a tool like this.

If you’re interested in learning more about the personalities of other leadership teams, or if you want to learn how to analyze a leadership team yourself, check out our last article where we discussed Netflix’s leadership team and gave even more insight about creating the personality group report.

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