Sallie Krawcheck on Getting Fired and Asking Her Team to Yell More


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LinkedIn Executive Editor Daniel Roth spoke with Sallie Krawcheck, Ellevate & past head of Merrill Lynch about getting fired, workplace culture, how she hires and why employees should yell more.

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Some of our favorite excerpts:

"As I spent time during a career transition, really thinking about the financial crisis, which I had a front-row seat, and some of the causes of it. Plenty of causes we've discussed. You know, not enough capital, not enough liquidity, and so on. But it struck me, given my experience, and then given the research that I looked at, that one of the great causes of the downturn was group-think.

That, you know, a bunch of folks (to my mind and from what I saw, very well-meaning) grew up together, looking at the same information over the course of years. Vacationing together, talking together, and came to the same conclusions. Often right, in this case very, very wrong.

And so I began to think about diversity as being a driver to break the group-think. And I researched it, looked at it, wrote on LinkedIn about it, as a matter of fact, as my thoughts were sort of gathering. And when the idea of a professional women's network came along, I thought, "Hold on. That's interesting." When I did further research (and something you might appreciate), I saw that networking has been cited as the number one unwritten rule of success in business. Group-think, women, networking. The combination of it was so interesting to me that I thought, 'Okay, here's the next chapter of my career.'"

On hiring:
"I'd much rather hire someone you have to pull back than push forward. And so I really look for that. And I love a vibrant debate. In fact, I remember when I was running Merrill, having a meeting with my team, and said, "We just haven't yelled at each other enough."

And, you know, you don't want the workplace to be unpleasant. But until we are really so engaged and involved, and so passionate about what we're doing, and yelling at each other, then I'm not sure we're playing the game hard enough. So I don't mind a very emotional and vibrant workplace. Now, the rule is when you're a leadership team, after you yell at each other, then you make a decision.

And by the time you leave the room that team has gotta be rock solid together. You gotta be together as a team."

Published in: Leadership & Management
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