Join Jeff Weiner for an in-depth discussion in this video Courage of your convictions: Values, part of On Leadership by Jeff Weiner.
- It's not just about the what you're trying to accomplish. We talk about this all the time here at LinkedIn, right? It's not just about the vision and it's not just about the mission. It's also about the how, because if we pursue the what at the exclusion of the how, if we pursue the mission and the vision at the exclusion of values and culture, inevitably, it's going to lead to unintended negative consequences. You're going to focus on something that you believe is going to do a lot of good in the world. But if you're not thinking about how you want to accomplish it and the potential for unintended consequences, then that's exactly what's going to happen. You're going to have those unintended consequences. So it's got to be about the what. We talked about that in the context of vision. And it also has to be in terms of the how, your values. So let's talk about values. So we've defined values here at the company as first principles upon which we make day-to-day decisions as an organization. And values combined with other behaviors are really what defines our culture as a team and as a company. So just as we discussed the difference between our corporate vision and our personal vision, I think it also makes sense to take the time to define our personal values, our first principles. Not necessarily the first principles of the company we work for, but what matters to us in terms of how we want to do things, how we want to live our lives, how we want to interact with others and treat other people, and how we want to pursue that vision. So I did an interesting exercise that up until somewhat recently, I had never done before. And I'm not sure if this was the forcing mechanism or it was a question I had been asked. Actually, I'll tell you exactly where it came from. Steve Sordello, our CFO, had an offsite. And somewhat had introduced him to an exercise where they took hundreds of cards, and each card had a value on it. Were you, did you do the exercise? You've done it. And you start with 20 or 50, and then you whittle it down by half, and then half again, and then half again, and you keep going. And then you finally get to like five or six, and then you have to pick one. And it's just an interesting exercise to first, for yourself, to prioritize what matters to you. But then to learn about your teammates. And so Steve did the exercise with me. And getting it down to roughly five or six, I think this was six, was I wouldn't call it easy, but I was capable of doing it. Trying to distill that down to one was really, really hard. So I had an opportunity to kind of define for myself, personal values. And you can see here on the left. Compassion, hopefully comes as no surprise, honesty, integrity, loyalty, passion, and humor. These are what's important to me and there's others. But if I had to prioritize and settle on five or six, this would be them. And then very recently, one of our employees reached out to me via e-mail. I think he had just been asked this question himself. And he asked me what my leadership values are. I was like, leadership values? And I said, "Let me get back to you. "Let me give that some thought." So it'll be really interesting. And I was thinking okay, and Steve came in, we did that exercise with the cards. Let me make sure I codify those values I prioritized. And then I realized, those are my personal values. And ideally, those will come through in a leadership capacity. But are these the values I would espouse as a leader? And I realized I have slightly different leadership values. And I took pen to paper and I wrote down what my leadership values are, the first principles I use as a leader. And I shared those. I ended up actually sharing it on LinkedIn. I don't know if anyone saw it. But any rate, these were the six. And you'll notice some overlap, right? Be compassionate, authenticity, there's that word, it's got to keep coming up. Be open, honest, and constructive. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Be of service to others, which was one of five keys to happiness that I think we covered earlier. Lead by example and inspire. Very consistent with what we've been talking about today. So these are personal values. I think it's really important, and leadership values. I think it's really important as emerging leaders that at some point, you take the time to think through your answer to these questions. What are your personal values? And what are your leadership values? It's a really important exercise.
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.