Part of being human is communicating through narrative. In this video Jeff Weiner explains that an organization's narrative comes from their mission, vision, strategy, value prop, culture, and values. At LinkedIn, there are six values starting with the most important value that members come first.
- One, if you can pull it off, it's fantastic, very high degree of difficulty because that's not one thing, it's two things. And the more "things" you try to do as a company, the higher the degree of difficulty. And it's probably exponential at some point in terms of each incremental thing you add to the company. It's just that many more things you need to communicate, that many more things people need to internalize and grok, that many more things people need to execute against. It just creates more and more room for error. So in a perfect world, your company would only produce one thing and it would do it with the smallest team possible and it's just easier.
It's just not realistic if you're going to continue to scale. So things have changed. It doesn't require the same number of resources, the same amount of capital to achieve certain scale. It doesn't require the same portfolio approach to achieve certain kinds of scale by virtue of technologies, by virtue of how global the world has become and interconnected. But if you're going to try to do more than one thing, it goes back to knowing who you are, what you're trying to accomplish.
And that starts with your narrative. We are the stories that we tell. So storytelling is the oldest known form of communication. Right? Cave drawings. And that's just innate. It's just part of who we are as human beings. And we communicate through narrative. So your mission, your vision, your strategy, your value prop, your culture, your values, that's an organization's narrative. And you need to define that and codify it and reinforce it.
And one of the most important things that we've reinforced from very early on recognizing that we are trying something with a higher degree of difficulty, an enterprise business built on top of a consumer web platform, is our most important value. We have six values. And the first value is that our members come first. And when you have an enterprise culture, an enterprise sales culture, that would not normally be the case, that your members come first or that it's some consumer web platform comes first.
What would come first is the next sale and hitting quota and results. And results matter to us. It's an important part of our culture, and demanding excellence is one of our most important values. But it starts with members first because we're unable to execute against any of our enterprise business lines if we don't have a flourishing, member-driven ecosystem. So our members come first. And the only way we've been able to pull off this idea of building enterprise businesses on top of a consumer web platform is because the person that runs those enterprise sales forces, thousands of people, recognizes that our members come first.
And he is one of the most steadfast leaders of the company when it comes to manifesting culture and values. And trust me, he is not just talking the talk. He manifests it in quite literally everything that he does. He models the behavior constantly to the point it's sometimes you're just like, "Really?" But over time, you start to recognize and appreciate how strong a competitive advantage you can build as a result of that. And his name is Mike Gamson. And as Mike likes to say, he's not hiring salespeople or sales leaders.
He's hiring businesspeople and business leaders. And he's not just saying it. He's actually doing it. And that's one of the reasons we've been able to pull that off. It's still very challenging as you know.
- Defining the vision
- Fostering a healthy culture
- Growing a leadership team
- Planning with critical mass and scale in mind
- Coaching others to be able to solve problems
- Evolving communication strategies
- Maintaining focus during change
- Hiring smart at scale
- Empowering talented people