SAN FRANCISCO
06/18/2013 01:30 pm ET

Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO, On Managing A 21st Century Business

The Commonwealth Club and The Huffington Post San Francisco present "Commonwealth Club Thought Leaders," an ongoing series of insights from the most interesting people in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read the summary below and watch the video above--then share your thoughts.

By John Zipperer

Most people are not born knowing how to manage a company or a department, but millions of people become managers simply by being in their job for a long time or getting an opportune promotion. Social media giant Twitter seeks to reduce the risks of “accidental managers” by sharing the leadership ideas of its CEO, Dick Costolo.

Columnist Geoffrey James recently treated his Inc. readers to his takedown of seven popular but useless management trends. He started off by criticizing the idea of best practices--learning what successful companies do and then replicating that in your company. James noted that those highly touted companies tend to be one-of-a-kinds, with strategies that fit their unique needs and resources, and are therefore not easily transferable or replicable.

Twitter’s Costolo has a similar message for people seeking management advice from Silicon Valley. In his Commonwealth Club talk, he told New York Times journalist Nick Bilton that he doesn’t want his employees managing the way they did at other companies or like their past managers have managed them. He wants them to manage the Twitter way. To inculcate that knowledge, he personally leads a two-day training course for his company’s new managers, in a bit of an echo of IBM’s famous weeklong manager training course.

He also shares some of his rules. For example, he does not want Twitter’s managers to employ what he calls “the Marxist way of management,” in which they spend most of their time with the lowest performers who need lots of help. He says he prefers they use “the Darwinian way of management,” in which managers spend most of their time with the top performers to get the most out of them.

Watch the video above to get more business leadership insight from Dick Costolo.

For more thought leaders, visit The Commonwealth Club of California.
Video edit: Mehroz Baig

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