October 3, 2022

Facebook is going through a rough time. Not long after founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced his grand vision for Metaverse, he said the company would spend $10 billion to make it happen. But since then, things haven’t gone so well.

It turns out that just because you changed your company name to Meta, it doesn’t mean that people will forget all the bad things they already knew. The company was already grappling with a series of issues ranging from controversy over how it handles user data to Apple’s changes in iOS requiring developers to request permission before their apps can track users.

The change had a major impact on Facebook, as it said it could cost the company up to $10 billion in revenue. As a result, the company’s market capitalization fell by $230 billion in a single day – the largest ever decline for a publicly traded company. It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that Facebook, er, Meta, is now saying it will slow down its metaverse plans.

This week, on a call with employees, Zuckerberg said the company will slow hiring as it tries to deal with what he called “the worst downturn we’ve seen in recent history.” According to contact reportsZuckerberg told employees to be willing to work more with fewer resources.

For anyone who’s not interested, Zuckerberg told employees that “Some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and that self-selection works for me. Realistically, there’s probably a group of people in the company who shouldn’t be here.”

To be fair, Zuckerberg is probably right on the latter part. There are probably a lot of people working in Meta who would be a better fit elsewhere. Perhaps they are performing poorly, or they are just not enthusiastic about what the company is doing and keep sticking with it until they find another job. This is true of almost every company.

The thing is, assuming some people who work for your company don’t belong is a horrible way to lead. It’s also a very poor way to motivate your team. Instead, you should always assume the best about your team. If you find yourself thinking that there are people working in your company that they shouldn’t be, it’s a failure of your leadership.

Listen, I’m sure Zuckerberg is under a lot of pressure. He literally bet the entire company on his plan for metaverses. If it doesn’t work, there’s no going back to the good old days when the company could just collect more user data to use to serve up more personalized ads. The number of Facebook users has decreased earlier this year for the first time in a decade. There is no other place to grow.

It’s not that Facebook is going through hard times. For most of the past five years, Facebook has been able to print money. In the past year alone, the company made 40 billion dollars profit.

Now, however, the company is no longer seeing the kind of growth you’d expect. This is true for many tech companies. Sure, part of that is due to the current state of the economy, but a lot of it is simply due to the fact that once you get big enough, it becomes difficult for you to grow.

In Facebook’s case, a lot of it has to do with the fact that its entire business relies on tracking users in order to feed its advertising machine. It gets more difficult as users become more aware of what’s going on, and platforms like the iPhone give users a choice.

Of course, if your business model collapses because you have to ask users for permission before collecting all of their activity and using it to target them with ads, your problem isn’t that your employees aren’t working hard enough. Your problem is your business model.

Telling your employees that they need to do more with less because your money cow stopped giving milk isn’t exactly a shining example of leadership. It also seems to be missing the most important point.

Your job is to make your team’s work easier – not harder. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t motivate them to work harder, but it’s up to you to provide the resources they need to succeed. If you can’t do that, it’s not their fault. On your responsibilty.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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