Live Episode: Lessons on Leadership and Being a Better CEO with John Donahoe and Ben Casnocha


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We were thrilled to host a Masterclass roundtable session with our founders and John Donahoe (@Donahoe_John), CEO of ServiceNow. Prior to ServiceNow, John was CEO of eBay for more than seven years. He is known as one of the most inspirational leaders in Silicon Valley and is a highly sought-after mentor to CEOs including Brian Chesky at Airbnb, Drew Houston at Dropbox, and Ben Silbermann at Pinterest. We’re honored to have him among our small group of world-class executives and collaborators whose time and expertise help power our network of founders at Village Global. When we asked John to deliver a Masterclass to 12 diverse and determined founders in our portfolio, John gladly invited us all to the ServiceNow HQ where he riffed on topics of leadership, culture building, talent development, and how to grow as a CEO in the tech industry. He shared advice on when to hire ahead, invest in and train, or replace personnel on your team and gave insight into his most common piece of advice on professional growth when advising CEOs. John also did an in-depth demonstration of how to let someone go with dignity and grace. Quotes From This Episode "When you talk about priorities at an aspirational level, they overlap a lot. People start realizing we're more similar than we're dissimilar." — John "Adversity never feels fun. I don't seek adversity. But I'm no longer scared of adversity. When it emerges, instead of trying to run from it, I now accept that it is a reality and I say, 'well, at least I'm going to learn and grow.'" — John "My experience has been that around any issue that involves change, you have roughly 20-25% of people who want to be part of it, no matter what the topic is, you have 25-30% of people who want to fight it, and you have the 50% of people in the middle saying 'which side is going to win?'" — John "[When someone is let go] The fear is humiliation usually. That's almost a bigger fear than actually leaving the company." — John "We're never as good or as bad as labels make us out to be." — John "I would say in general, for every 10 hours of business development conversations, 8 of them are a waste." — John "I do gratitude practice driving into work every morning. It's proven in brain science that your brain becomes more negative over time. But it's also been proven in brain science that you can counteract that." — John "The older I get, the more I've made friends with uncertainty. I don't avoid uncertainty. Uncertainty is as present to me today as it was before but I'm a little more comfortable with it today." — John Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal. Venture Stories is brought to you by Village Global and is hosted by co-founder and partner, Erik Torenberg. Colin Campbell is our audio engineer and the show is produced by Brett Bolkowy.

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