Carol Bartz's Advice For Marissa Mayer

carol bartz ceo

Photo: Wikimedia

Fortune has profiled Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer—and while Mayer didn’t talk to the magazine, Mayer’s predecessor, Carol Bartz, did.Here’s the subtext of Bartz’s advice: Good luck—you’ll need it!

“I really wish her well,” Bartz told Fortune.

Changing Yahoo wil require more than just making lunch free and giving employees smartphones.

“Changing culture is not a sprint,” Bartz said. “It’s a marathon. It’s very, very hard to affect culture.”

In an interview with Fortune writer Pattie Sellers, Bartz expanded on why that’s the case, as reported by the New York Times:

“One piece of advice I would give her is changing culture is not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” Ms. Bartz said. “It’s very, very hard to affect culture. And you can get surprised thinking you’re farther down the path of change than you really are because, frankly, most of us like the way things are.”

Employees might nod when an executive suggests changes, she said, “then they go back to their cube and go, ‘I ain’t doing that.’ And so I think that’s important for all of us, is to realise how stuck individuals can be, much less 14,000 people.”

One pleasant surprise: Bartz, who developed a reputation for profanity as Yahoo’s CEO, kept it clean.

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