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  • Johnson and Johnson
  • YPO
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  • US Army
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  • Delta Airlines
  • bp

How Mark Zuckerberg Thinks


Mark Zuckerberg is the co-founder, chairperson and CEO of Facebook, Inc., the global online social networking site. Facebook currently has 2.27 billion monthly active users.  Since 2010, Time magazine has ranked Zuckerberg among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world in its Person of the Year distinction.  Recently, Zuckerberg was under fire when he was forced to defend questionable privacy practices at Facebook.

So how does this extraordinary entrepreneur think?  I analyzed Zuckerberg’s thinking during Facebook’s 2013, 2014, and 2015 first quarter earnings conference calls.  I quickly rated his commentary according to our Hierarchy of Thinking Styles.

The analysis revealed a dominance of moderate positive thinking and extraordinary positive thinking, supported by an Optimal Thinking foundation. Organizational stability is expressed with moderate positive thinking while extraordinary positive thinking is employed to demonstrate innovation and exceptional progress.

how mark zuckerberg thinks

Bear in mind, this analysis provides a snapshot of Mark Zuckerberg’s thinking process in one specific context. As the leader of a networking company, Zuckerberg demonstrates understanding of the language of connection: moderate positive thinking. He uses moderate positive thinking to express his appreciation for the support and hard work of Facebook employees.

His moderate positive thinking is particularly effective in presenting information with reasonable self-confidence while locking out any hint of arrogance.  He uses words like “increasing”, “improvement”, “better”, and  “normally”.  He also uses phrases such as “good sign”, “good quarter”, “pretty meaningful”, “building the knowledge economy”, “strategy of improving quality” and  “improving the world through sharing”.

However, Zuckerberg is clearly a “big picture” person who welcomes change.  He deploys extraordinary positive thinking effortlessly to articulate Facebook’s focus on innovation and product differentiation. He is not deterred by obstacles and roadblocks that obstruct progress. Time and again, he cites metrics that rise above the status quo and predefined limitations.

Zuckerberg utilizes extraordinary positive thinking to articulate unusual beliefs, new processes, remarkable resources, and outstanding results. He uses words like “innovate”, “improvement”, “new”, and  “amazing”.  He also uses phrases such as “great progress”, “big fundamental believer”, “very big contributors”, “amazing journey”, “growing environmental consciousness”, and  “talent management processes”.

Last year was a big year for us here. We started off the year with no ads at all on mobile and we ended up with approximately 23% of our ads revenue coming from mobile in the fourth quarter. That’s a pretty amazing change.

Why Mark Zuckerberg Needs Optimal Thinking

Optimal Thinking is the realistic style of thinking that empowers individuals, teams, departments, and entire organizations to be their best.

Like other successful CEOs, Zuckerberg employs Optimal Thinking to define Facebook’s values, standards, and direction.

.. another which is focused on kind of efficiency and helping people to get the most value out of each moment that they’re spending in Facebook. And then the fourth group is our core business, which is focused on helping people to see the best ads and basically make the most money per moment that people are spending at the lowest cost in most efficiency in terms of serving people..     Mobile is the perfect device for Facebook for three reasons

Zuckerberg displays personal and organizational maturity by frequently referring to ongoing “tests” to quantify and qualify optimization initiatives. Recognizing that optimization is synonymous with completion, his focus is on getting things right.

We just have to do it right… to get the right content to the right people..    that this is the right path going forward as well..

How Do You Think?

To definitively assess your thinking and compare it to how Mark Zuckerberg thinks, take the Optimal Thinking 360 Assessment now. I developed this assessment for my executive coaching clients over 27 years. More than one million executives and 6500 companies have used the assessment. They discover their primary thinking style, thinking profiles, core motivation, decision-making and communication styles, and how to best interact with others.  Take this assessment (designed for desktops and tablets) on your own as a Self-Optimization Assessment or with your team as a 360 to confirm your strengths and weaknesses, discover your blind spots, and optimize every situation.

The transcripts used in this article are © 2013, 2014, 2015.

Come back next week for my analysis  “How Howard Schultz Thinks” (former CEO of Starbucks, Inc.) as part of the “How CEO’s Think™” Optimal Thinking article series.

If you would like to nominate a well-known leader for a thinking analysis, feel free to include them in your comments below.

5 Responses to “How Mark Zuckerberg Thinks”

  1. Dorothy Webb says:

    This is a really helpful piece of information. I am happy that you took the time to share this
    info about Mark Zuckerberg. Please keep us up to date with his activities. Thanks again for sharing.

  2. Leon Wright says:

    Zuckerberg achieved success by stealing intellectual property from his college mates. I guess that was his extraordinary negative thinking at work. Your articles are fascinating. Thanks.

  3. Debbie W says:

    Zuckerberg has become more moderate over the years. At the beginning, he was just out of the box. I was fascinated by your analysis and look forward to reading more as you do them.

  4. Michael Warner says:

    I’ve been following your CEO thinking pos’s for several weeKS and have learned a lot from you. Have you considered analyzing Jamie Dimon’s thinking?

  5. Barry Jones says:

    Great series of posts. Zuckerberg appears to use moderate positive thinking to gain rapport, extraordinary positive thinking to differentiate Facebook’s products and services. Optimal thinking appears to serve as the foundation for all the above. Very, very interesting stuff. I am going to take your assessment.

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