Culture as Competitive
Steve Cadigan, @scadigan
Winning in the New Reality
The answer to this question
says it all
Who is your main
Winning Today Ain’t Easy
• Hard to predict the future
• Who really believes a 5 year plan?
• Barrier to entry lower than ever
• Create an amazing company
• Transformation journey
• Unexpected success
Results Do the Talkin’
• LinkedIn grew staff from 400 to 5,000 in 5 years
• Considered one of top IPOs of past decade
• Doubled revenue while doubling employee base y/y
• "Disrupted" an industry
• $26B exit in only 13 years from birth
• Built a "world class" company
The Billion Dollar Questions
• How do you build a company when:
all your leaders are recruiting most of the time?
• How do you double revenues every year when:
your employee base doubles every year?
• How do you avoid suffocating from:
the weight of your success?
The Irony of LinkedIn’s
On paper this was not
supposed to happen!
• Scaling without crumbling
• Culture, Communication, Org Layers, Titles…
• Constant Changes, Growth and Complexity
• New people, offices, countries, policies…
• What business are we in?
• How do I focus my team in chaos?
• How do you beat the best companies in the world
in war for talent:
• Google, Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon…
• We had no brand!!
• And yet…..we succeeded
The Untold Stories of Success
• Exec team “rookies”/first timers
• First time CEO
• Complex business model
• Real competitive threats (Google, Facebook & …)
• The “pain” of growth
• Biggest impediment to our growth?
• Hiring top tech talent
• Our main business product?
• Recruiting product
• Our biggest pain point?
Culture was our Focus
• “What kind of company do we
want to be?”
• Everyone builds a winning culture
• “We want this to be the best job
you ever had!”
How Did We Achieve Success?
Driving Career Velocity
• Talent was our #1 priority as a company
• Career velocity mattered
• Career “bursts”
• We tore up “one year before you can apply”
We Focused on our Brand
• Issue: we needed to stand out in a crowd
• Amazing experiences
• Guest speakers
• Work is an "adventure"
• Virtuous cycle created
• Message amplification
If Talent is your differentiator then…
• You must learn from your talent
• Listening and collecting information is essential
• Information informs strategy
• Information provides insights to adjust course
• You MUST have a Listening Strategy today
We won with Culture
• InDays creation
• Inspirational speakers
• Creating – awesome experiences
• Career transformation
…We listened to the stories and responded
The Path Forward
• The world is increasingly transparent
• You must have a great culture or great talent will
not want to join or stay
• Employer brand is real
• So real you should not try to “produce”
• Your brand must be authentic
• Culture more critical than ever
Culture can be your “competitiveadvantage"
• Stories are your brand
• Are you creating experiences worth talking about?
• Is having an awesome culture a priority?
• First step is building a listening strategy
• You can win against better brands
• With bigger arsenals
• You can be world class as a first timer
• Everyone engaged in building your company is powerful!