Join Jeff Weiner for an in-depth discussion in this video Courage of your convictions: Alignment, part of On Leadership by Jeff Weiner.
- This is where the rubber meets the road. And to be an effective leader, you want to make sure that, for starters, your values are aligned with the team and the company in which you're leading. And the more alignment you have, the easier this becomes. That alignment is what enables you to convey things with conviction. When what you're saying is what you believe, very genuinely and authentically, that's when almost magic happens in terms of your ability to effectively reach and connect with other people. So I just mentioned a moment ago personal values, leadership values. And for this class, for the first time ever, I did an exercise where I added our company's values. And then I started to look for alignment. And bear in mind, it was not designed when I originally did and helped lead the team through codifying our corporate values. I didn't even have at that time things I would have communicated as my personal values. I certainly didn't define leadership values. So the company values were defined 11 years ago, right, so this was interesting. I went through, and I started to see what kind of natural alignment is there? And personally, I believe in the importance of compassion, certainly something I believe in as a leader to be compassionate. It's the first thing I'll teach if people ask me about effective management, to manage compassionately. And then from a company perspective, relationships matter. If you go to the original documentation when we defined what that means in that context, and in that description you'll find compassion, so good alignment there. I thought this was interesting. Honesty's important to me personally, and I don't think that's coincidence that it's one of our corporate values, certainly one of the most important leadership values I could think of. And we're going to come back to the importance of openness in just a moment. With regard to integrity, I used slightly different words when it came to leadership values, which is leading by example. You got to walk the walk. You can't just talk a good game, you know especially when things are hard, especially when people aren't watching. And then of course as a company, we talk about acting like an owner. Different words, same exact thought goes behind it. It's coming from a very similar place. And then with regard to inspire, I didn't touch on that from a personal perspective, but as a company we just evolve demand excellence to inspire excellence. And when it was suggested, it took all of about five seconds to decide as a leadership team we wanted to move in that direction because inspiration's so important to all of us as leaders. So you can see here, lot of overlap, right, a lot of alignment. And because it wasn't constructed with this in mind, it's very authentic. There was no rationalization. I wasn't trying to fit this together. So I think this is a really valuable exercise for all of you as leaders to do at some point. Define your personal values. Think about whether or not those personal values are similar or different to the values you aspire to as leaders. What kind of leader do you want to show up as for your team? And then whether it's here or somewhere else in the future, think about the way you as an individual, a human being, you as a leader in the company you work at, think about the way in which those values align. The more alignment you have, the more conviction you can speak with, and the more naturally you can let that conviction flow. I think one of the most important things you can do as a leader, especially when communicating one to many, is just be in the flow and not have to edit yourself, to just let yourself go. And the more aligned you are on these fronts, the more you're going to be in a position to just speak from your head, speak from your heart and not have to constantly think to yourself okay, this is the way I feel, but I'm not sure the audience feels this way, or I'm not sure the company believes in this. That burns a lot of energy and a lot of cycles, a lot of processing power. But when this stuff's aligned, you just go. And people know it's coming from the right place, even if they disagree. Okay, we talked about the importance of aligning values. Let's come back to vision. So I shared with you earlier my personal vision, which is to expand the world's collective wisdom and compassion, and of course by now you all know our corporate vision, our company vision, to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. And as I explained, these are far more aligned than I ever realized before joining the company. And over the last decade plus, I've come to believe that you really can't pursue one without the other when it comes to these two vision statements. So there's incredibly strong alignment for me personally and my sense of purpose. And it's so energizing to hear when you all are sharing your personal visions how aligned your personal visions are with both what the company's trying to do and how we're trying to do it. And that's the alignment you're looking for. That's what you want. And I think that's one of the reasons that when we ask people if they're happy, and they're motivated, and they're inspired being here, I think that's one of the reasons you see those scores where they are. It's because we do have a very strong alignment between the team and what it is the company's trying to accomplish and how we're trying to accomplish it.
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.