Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn is on a quest to create economic opportunity for the 3.3 billion people in the global workplace by matching skills with job opportunities. This is a bold and audacious quest and quests are a key element of successful leadership in the new world of work. Most businesses have visions and mission statements about shareholder returns and being the best at customer service. There is nothing wrong with these annual report fillers but in order to capture the inspiration and dreams of people around which success or failure will be defined, something more is required.
Quests are adventures, they offer the raison d’être, the higher calling. Seth Godin once put it something like this. If your business closed it’s doors today what hole would it create in society (other than for those people who worked for you). Would the hole be immediately be filled up by a competitor or would people who connected with you say that the world is a poorer place now that your business is no longer around. If LinkedIn disappeared, people would certainly feel a hole in their life. This is a sure sign that the quest that LinkedIn is on is a good one, a realistic one and an achievable one.
What is your company’s quest? What is your personal and team’s quest? I came across this interview with Jeff Weiner in Forbes, and although not directly stated so, many of the ten lessons of leadership discussed touch on the theme of a quest. Enjoy the read here below or follow the link to Forbes
As a user of LinkedIn and loyal reader of Adam’s Corner Office columns I had high expectations for the live interview. I walked away feeling like a high school girl who experienced her first crush. And now I am writing a tell all!
Jeff’s open and compassionate leadership style keeps the company focused on growing at the rate of two new members every second (that translates into 175 million registered users in more than 200 countries) while reducing the business mantra to just two words: “Next Play.” Weiner borrowed the phrase from Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, who shouts Next Play, every time the ball changes hands. Krzyzewski uses the phrase to make sure the Duke University Blue Devils don’t spend too much time celebrating a success or feeling down about a miss. Instead, they are coached to focus on one thing: the next challenge. During the interview with Bryant, Weiner described how powerful Next Play has been for the company. On the day LinkedIn became a public company, employees received a black T shirt with the company’s name and stock ticker written across the front and Next Play emblazoned on the back of the shirt. Even today 16 months after the LinkedIn IPO, employees continue to talk about their Next Play and stay focused on delivering results.
During the video interview, Weiner shared 10 lessons in leadership I think every businessperson should be aware of. They include:
1) Define leadership in your company: At LinkedIn, Leadership is the ability to inspire others and achieve shared results. It starts with defining a clear vision. In the case of LinkedIn it is to create economic opportunity for the 3.3 billion people in the global workplace by matching skills with job opportunities.
2) Understand how to evolve from a start-up to a public company:A CEO and the leadership team must understand the importance of growing their skills from solving problems to coaching others to achieve business results.