Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tonight's event: Discussion with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner & NYTimes Columnist Adam Bryant

Jeff Weiner, CEO LinkedIn and NYT Columnist Adam Bryant
It's hard not to be impressed by Jeff Weiner, CEO of Linkedin.

Even in my harried and slightly disheveled state (long day, launching a new company, new haircut not quite adjusting to my face, a whole host of other creative excuses for not feeling like I want to get out to a hosted event), I was struck by the refreshing simplicity of his advice and inspired to take down copious notes. For anyone watching, no, I was not multitasking or catching up on email :)

My biggest takeaway was the importance of dedicated thinking time, and allowing yourself enough space to reflect, plan and not just be in reactive mode. Easy to say, not always so easy to do. I have surely been guilty of flattering myself that I'm too busy to stop and take a moment. I have so many meetings! So much to do! Everything is code red, so very important now now now!

So when the CEO of Linkedin, a publicly listed company with over three thousand employees servicing nearly 200 million customers says:

"Carve out at least two to three hours of thinking time each day. One hour of buffer time is never enough",

it makes me wonder if I couldn't manage a similar routine. How might my decisions, even my life, be different? Surely I can't say Jeff is less busy than I am. My schedule could not truly be more demanding. If he can do it, I can do it!

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn

It linked in (excuse pun) with his other suggestion, to deliberately become a spectator to your own thoughts when you feel yourself getting riled up. In order to muster that kind of separation, you need some breathing space. Hence the buffer time.

Some other notable bits of advice:

 - Be grateful for at least one thing each day
 - Surround yourself with the absolute best people you can find
 - Always be learning
 - Maintain a childlike sense of wonder your entire life.

Right before we closed, Adam gave Jeff the opportunity to answer any question he thought he should have been asked. Jeff replied a little sheepishly, "What about, what makes me happy?"

Jeff then listed family, and the importance of loving what you do. If you're not sure what you want to do, ask yourself what you want to be able to say about what you do twenty to thirty years from now? If you still don't know, optimize for passion and skill (equally).

"I do not think enough people optimize for happiness in their career and home life. There's nothing better than not being able to wait to get to work, and then not being able to wait to get home'.


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