Sheryl Sandberg, she of “Lean In” book fame, has left Facebook (Meta or whatever its name is today). However, there is an internal investigation pending. Seems the Facebook boys and girls are looking into whether Facebook/Meta resources were used to support Ms. Sandberg’s “Lean In” foundation as well as the planning for her wedding as well as for the promotion of her second book.
Over $24 million in total compensation in 2020 alone and Ms. Sandberg faces questions about use of company resources for personal stuff? What is it about leaders in companies and politicians in general who seek to find ways to have someone else pay for their personal junk?
If an employee were using Facebook/Meta resources to plan his/her wedding, the pink slip would be in the inbox tout de suite. Somehow leaders dip into the petty cash and worse and then offer, “Sheryl did not inappropriately use company resources in connection with the planning of her wedding.” Deepa Seetharaman and Emily Glazer, “Meta’s Probe of Sandberg Is Covering Several Years,” Wall Street Journal, June 11-12, 2022, p. B1.
Just look at the wiggle room in that defiant statement. “Did not inappropriately use company resources.” Is it possible that she may have done so appropriately or is there a Meta rule about company resource use in general? “In connection with the planning of her wedding.” Have we ruled out the use of company resources, appropriately or inappropriately, for other reasons?
A statement of outrage with qualifiers is often the slippery set-up for when the investigation concludes. Lots of space for “it depends on the meaning of” for leaders, although not for employees. They just get sacked, for appropriately and/or inappropriately using company resources. Oh, and by the way, the investigation had nothing whatsoever to do with Ms. Sandberg’s decision to retire. Appropriately stated.