“Every day I come into work, I’m primarily guided by two things,” stated LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner. By placing importance on creating an organization’s visions, values, and culture, Jeff Weiner spearheded LinkedIn’s hypergrowth.
After the recent announcement that Microsoft was acquiring LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner wrote a letter to his employees detailing three important beliefs that guided the company’s growth: Creating an organization’s visions, values, and culture. In just 7 ½ years, LinkedIn saw their employee numbers shoot from 338 to over 10,000. How did he scale both business growth and company culture?
Voted one of Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEOs by employees, here are some excerpts from his letter to the LinkedIn team:
Every day I come to work, I’m primarily guided by two things:
First, realizing our mission and vision. I’ve said it on multiple occasions and believe it even more so every day: creating economic opportunity will be the defining issue of our time. That’s why I’m here and why I can’t imagine doing any other job. Simply put, what we do matters, and matters even more than ever.
The second thing I focus on every day is making our culture and values come to life. Ten years ago, had you asked me about culture and values I would have rolled my eyes and recited a line from Dilbert.
But when I started as CEO I began to appreciate just how important they were. Culture and values provide the foundation upon which everything else is built. They are arguably our most important competitive advantage, and something that has grown to define us. It’s one thing to change the world. It’s another to do it in our own unique way: Members first. Relationships matter. Be open, honest and constructive. Demand excellence. Take intelligent risks. Act like an owner.
That’s who we are. That’s LinkedIn.
LinkedIn’s vision is: “To create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”
This vision statement is powerful because it:
- is inspirational
- visualizes the future
- creates emotional attachment
Each company is unique and can create its own vision. Leadership needs to articulate an inspirational statement that emotionally connects employees and applicants to a cause greater than the job itself. This is even more critical now than ever before. Many millennials specifically want to sign on with organizations that have a larger purpose of work. Considering millennials will soon be 50% of the workforce, leaders need to understand generational differences. Once the vision statement is clearly and concisely articulated, it is then important to share with employees the vision statement and the reasoning behind it. Make sure employees understand why it was chosen. Post it on your website and social media sites. Regularly refer to it in all hands and other meetings. Use it as a guide for determining your organization’s strategies.
“That’s who we are. That’s LinkedIn.” This statement summarizes how Jeff Weiner described the company’s values. The LinkedIn values are:
- Members first
- Relationships matter
- Be open, honest and constructive
- Demand excellence
- Take intelligent risks
- Act like an owner
Values are the heart of the culture. They let employees know how to behave at work and what is required to be successful. These values should be used during the hiring process to ensure a good fit for new employees.
Companies know they have selected the right values when:
- Employees say that these values are “who we are”
- They are used to make tough decisions
- Posters are not needed because they are known and communicated successfully by senior employees to new hires
Choose no more than six values. Beyond six leads to a memorization game. When you have six or less, there is clarity. It does take time to gain that clarity and understanding, and the work pays off. The Conscious Culture Group partners with leadership teams to efficiently and effectively gain insight on the values unique to the organization.
Culture provides the foundation upon which everything else is built. The best strategy cannot be executed if disengagement is high. Goals will not be reached if turnover is high. Growth is difficult when not attracting candidates. Establishing the vision and values are important steps on the way to defining a conscious culture.
In addition, organizations need to:
- Identify specific behaviors for each of the values
- Communicate the vision and values often so that they become engrained into the organizational language
- Explain the values through personal work stories
- Determine if the employee experience maps with the intended culture using customized culture surveys
- Provide managers with the needed education and support through culture specific training
- Develop leadership using culture relevant competencies
- Ensure all HR systems are consistent with the conscious culture
- Share the culture intentions on the website and social media platforms so the outside world knows who you are
These steps provide a culture map for organizational leaders to build and maintain a conscious culture. It is your competitive advantage. Please reach out to me for further information on building a conscious culture for your company. At the Conscious Culture Group, we work directly with organizational leadership to create unique, impactful vision statements and organizational values.