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Photograph by Gabriela Hasbun

Fast Company

Facebook's Dirk Stoop On Finding Allied Advisors

A new job or venture is as terrifying as it is exhilarating, especially if you're a manager. What are the best ways to navigate a big transition? We asked five leaders to reveal what they learned during a recent power move. Then, we tapped the leadership experts at DDI* to assess how our fearless leaders have handled their staff (and themselves) amid the chaos.

Dirk Stoop

Product Manager, Camera, Facebook
The cofounder of Dutch software and design company Sofa left the startup life when he sold his business to Facebook in 2011. Stoop moved his team from Amsterdam to Palo Alto.

The New Man On Facebook's Campus

Self-Assessment: "I never had a Facebook account. Out of the blue, I get an email from Mark Zuckerberg saying that he liked my work. So we scheduled a call. Two hours before we spoke, I opened my account.

When you change companies, you need to embrace the fact that people do things differently. But it helps to have someone around who reads and writes the way you do. When we came in, Facebook needed more senior designers, which it's always recruiting; designers are scarce. So we were spread throughout the company. It wasn't until later that I was able to get one of my people back. That made a big difference.

I'm very good at making big decisions quickly. I proposed to my wife after nine days together. But I agonize over the small ones. What meetings do I reject? How should I run a meeting? Who are all the people I need to talk to? I start to second-guess. It was hard for me to keep my confidence initially."

DDI Assessment: Dirk is an open soul. He has a good sense of adventure and he's energized by new challenges. He now needs to rely on people in his new network to orient him to the environment. Dirk should continually add trusted advisers to his inner circle, people who understand his development goals and will be honest with him.

STOOP'S RESPONSE:
"I picked two coworkers early on that were well established and decided to trust them, which has really helped. The Facebook culture is clear: If you don't open your mouth when you disagree with something, that's bad. You might be wrong, but that's okay. It's been reinforced constantly by managers in one-on-one meetings. That has helped me find my confidence. I'll continue to identify trusted people who will help me develop and grow."

*DDI surveys conducted in 2010 and 2011

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1 Comments

  • Jules Stoop

    Smart strategy :) Good to hear Facebook's corporate culture fosters debate. I can't say I'm surprised, but it is refreshing!