Featuring Maya Strelar-Migotti, VP Development Unit IP and Head of Ericsson Silicon Valley Site, Ericsson
“The density of super smart people that work in Silicon Valley almost forces you to become humble,” says Maya Strelar-Migotti, head of Ericsson Silicon Valley and a Watermark board member. “While there really is no room for arrogance here, there is plenty of room for our workplaces to become more diverse.” When shaping and managing her teams, she follows what she calls the “80-10-10 rule.”
“Eighty percent is about being results oriented,” Strelar-Migotti explains. “The dynamics of business require change so I want people on my team who are not only delivering, but who are also staring down change everyday.”
In her 28-year run with Ericsson, she has never shied away from surrounding herself with people who have talents and skill-sets unique to her own. This mindset shapes the next 10 percent of her formula.
“I always consider how someone on my team or someone that I’m considering bringing on to my team complements me while also compensating for my weaknesses,” says Strelar-Migotti, who studied electrical engineering and first worked in software design.
The final piece of Strelar-Migotti’s recruiting/management puzzle factors in how an individual will work and co-exist within the confines of the entire team.
“It is extremely important that there are different ideas and contrasting points of view,” she says. “These are the ingredients that create energy, but it’s a careful balance. It requires humility and a willingness to make sacrifices. If people can’t build bridges then you risk dysfunction and, believe me, there is nothing worse.”
Women on the Front Line
Her emphasis on diversity is also about including women. “Promoting diversity and women in leadership is my true passion,” says Strelar-Migotti, who serves on Ericsson’s global diversity and inclusion council and speaks Spanish and Swedish as well as English and Croatian (her native tongue). “We’ve come such a long way. Twenty years ago, no one was even talking about gender diversity programs.”
She credits Ericsson’s current CEO, Hans Vestberg, for accelerating such programs and making diversity a focal point for his leadership team.
“Hans has created an environment that is much stronger for women leaders at Ericsson,” she said. We are trying to capture everything that we’ve learned and foster a workplace that supports emerging leaders from all walks of life. I’m proud to be a part of this global transformation and thankful for those that gave me a chance all those years ago.”
More Career Advice from Strelar-Migotti
On failure: “Don’t dwell on it, but don’t forget what you learned either.”
On management: “A constant battle between what to do and what not to do.”
On mentors: “It is extremely important that they fit within your career path and not the other way around.”
On leaning in: “Yes, yes, yes! Develop thick skin and don’t allow the idiots to decide the course of your life.”
On what’s really important: “Not the job titles. It’s fulfillment in life.”