Join Jeff Weiner for an in-depth discussion in this video Clarity of your vision, part of On Leadership by Jeff Weiner.
- So, when it comes to inspiration, the way I've always thought about it, again, rule of three, always got to be rule of three, right, is first and foremost the clarity of your vision, understanding what it is that you're trying to accomplish, where you're trying to take the team and the company. The second is the courage of your convictions, and this comes back to what we just talked about, which is believing in what it is that you're trying to accomplish with everything you've got at a deep, visceral, fundamental level, having that courage. That's what's going to enable you to navigate all those folks who are telling you why it's not possible. And then third is the ability to effectively communicate both of these aspects, the clarity of your vision and the courage of your conviction. So, we're going to dive into each of these, how you can make that happen. So, let's start with the clarity of your vision, and we talked about this in the context of synthesis, which is once you're aware of what it is that you're trying to accomplish, the company's trying to accomplish, how the world is evolving, key trends, and you have the opportunity to sit back and piece together how all these various elements fit, you can create a plan, and one of the ways at LinkedIn we find very effective to frame that plan is through what we call vision to values, and that starts with the company's vision, or your team's vision, okay, and we talked about the definition for vision here as being the dream. It's true north. It's designed to inspire, not necessarily to operationalize or to measure. It's why people come in to work. It's where you want to align your sense of purpose as an organization. Our vision here at LinkedIn is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. But now let's evolve this a little bit and talk about personal vision. So, it's not necessarily the dream of the company, the true north of the organization when it comes to your personal vision, it's what motivates you. It's your vision, the impact that you want to have on the world around you, the role that you want to play, your true north and what inspires you to get out of bed and come to work every day. That's the personal vision. I had an opportunity to define personal vision for myself at a very young age. When I was about 15 years old I was in an English class in high school, and I ended up staring out the window during class. I don't think I was paying very close attention, and I was thinking about all the ways in which education could be done differently, all the ways in which I thought I could be further motivated and how I could get more out of my education, and looking back on it now, it's almost embarrassing because of the wealth of riches I had in terms of the quality of the education I was being given access to in light of so many people today who don't have access to that kind of opportunity. But at any rate, I was tired of rote learning and memorizing the work the night before and doing well on the test, and then waking up in a week or two and not being able to recall most of the stuff that we were supposedly learning. I started to get really excited about this idea of reforming the education system and doing it differently, and for many, many years that was my personal vision, and that iterated over time based on my own experiences, but it's always been foundational to every choice I've made in terms of my career, and even my education, my schooling. When I was going to apply to colleges, this idea of helping to reform the US education system was absolutely fundamental, and I ended up going to Wharton Undergrad, which is an undergraduate business school, for those that don't know, and you may be thinking to yourself, that's a weird choice for someone that wanted to reform education, but it was a very conscious choice in terms of do I want to teach? Do I want to administrate within a school system? Do I want to legislate or regulate from an educational perspective, or could I go into business and somehow amass enough resources and influence that I could change the education system that way. So, that's what encouraged me, and that's what influenced my decision to go to Wharton to study business, to ultimately get into business, and then find ways through the business work I was doing to stick with this longer term plan to help reform education. It was one of the reasons I was so fascinated by digital technology. I saw the early, early advent of the commercial web in 1994. It was actually when I was still in school, '91, '92 is when I was first exposed to it. '94 is when I had my first online account, and I thought to myself, this is going to change everything. It's going to change the way we work, it's going to change the way we play, it's going to change the way we learn, and that was one of the reasons I pursued that. So, it turns out over many years that that personal vision statement would evolve, and my personal vision statement is to expand the world's collective wisdom and compassion. That's my true north. It's what motivates me every day, literally, and sometimes I've been asked the question over the years how do I personally evaluate whether or not I'm having a good day, whether or not I'm doing my job? I will oftentimes cite this vision, and believe it or not, and it may sound a little bit just like I'm saying it because it sounds good, but at the end of the day, as I'm going to my car, I'll think to myself, did I increment in a positive way on helping to expand the world's collective wisdom and compassion? Now, some of you may be thinking to yourself, what does that have to do with LinkedIn, creating an economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce? And when I first chose to join LinkedIn 11 years ago, I was trying to reconcile these, and shortly after joining the company, I realized that for all of my interest in helping people to become educated, what I really wanted to do was level the playing field. I wanted to make sure that everyone had access to opportunity, and that education without access to economic opportunity is incomplete, and economic opportunity without people who develop the skills to seize those opportunities is also incomplete. So, two halves to a whole, so you can see how it's all worked out, and I encourage all of you, if you haven't taken the time to think about what it is you ultimately want to accomplish and the impact that you want to have on the world to really drill down deep and ask yourself, what is your personal vision? What impact do you want to have? What legacy do you want to leave behind? Because it's going to make all the difference as a leader.
Learn about the importance of maintaining awareness of yourself, your team, your industry, and the world at large. Explore the topic of synthesis, which you achieve through developing your vision and values and by focusing on the most important priorities. Plus, learn about the role of inspiration in leadership, both in terms of being true to your own values and motivating others.