Here at Get Satisfaction we are getting inspired! Our new CEO, Rahul Sachdev, has originated the idea of a Leadership Speaker Series held once a month. Rahul understands that technology companies work at a fast pace, but then when do we get a chance to step back and think outside the box? At Get Satisfaction, once a month we do just that–get inspired and get creative. All employees of Get Satisfaction gather in our comfy company corner or, if remote, join the video call, to listen to our inspiration of the month and hear lessons about people, talent, and culture.
This month we invited LinkedIn’s former driver of culture, Steve Cadigan, to help get the inspirational juices flowing. Steve began his chat with the Get Satisfaction team by explaining how he got involved in technology and subsequently found himself in the Silicon Valley. After moving to California, he quickly saw that all the aspects he loves about sports, such as the structure, strategy, and organization of teams, were also prominent in technology companies, specifically the Human Resources division. He joined AMD’s HR team in 1994, while later joining Cisco to become responsible for the acquisition integration function of 50 companies worldwide. Steve used his sports-oriented philosophy to organize people into teams to win something together and would continue to do so throughout his career.
Eventually in 2009, Steve made his way to LinkedIn. As a result of the 2008 recession, people were looking for jobs and thereby joining the network. This proved to be a huge opportunity for LinkedIn and one that Steve was inspired about. Steve explained how by building a strong company culture helped to put LinkedIn on a much faster growth trajectory. The executive team came up with the idea of making one Friday a month “InDay” dedicated to innovation where employees were given time to be creative and work on their own projects, and they began to unlock something–their vision. “We began to see the problems we were solving. We were helping people find their dream jobs. This is a change-the-world thing!” LinkedIn began to emphasize that they wanted their company to be the best place to work and they wanted their employees to feel more value, see more impact, and innovate faster. “We never thought culture was going to be our competitive advantage!”
A few things we learned from Steve:
- A lot like how we work with our customers at Get Satisfaction, Steve encouraged every employee at LinkedIn aligned with the company vision, mission and core values and be motivated to better serve its members. Culture is not only about the experience and beliefs of employees — it can be a competitive differentiator. At LinkedIn the culture and company mission were one and the same: help people find their dream jobs.
- The most ideal situation for a CEO is to be able to create a dream job for all of his employees and Steve stresses that this should not be undervalued. Creating this kind of company culture is done by having the employees be part of creating their position at the firm by including interests in fields they might not have had a professional hand at.
- As Steve mentioned, “vision is underrated.” If you do not have a common agreement around the company’s vision is, how is the company going to be able to grow and achieve its mission?
We agreed with Steve when he told us that having a mission is a good pinpoint in order to feel like you are going somewhere, but having a vision is reflecting the “GO!” attitude of the company. Here at Get Satisfaction we use these monthly meetings to realign ourselves internally to focus on our vision as a company.
We’ve got inspiration! We’ve got vision! We’ve got satisfaction!