Strategies From My First 100 Days at LinkedIn
Change is automatic. Progress is not. Progress is the result of conscious thought, decision, and action.
– Tony Robbins1
Today is my 100th day working at LinkedIn. A lot has changed during this time:
- Friday of my first week, the stock price dropped over 40%2 (not my fault!)
- After a month and a half, we moved to an awesome new building3
- The beginning of April, I married my amazing and beautiful wife
- A week ago, Microsoft announced plans to acquire LinkedIn4
Aside from getting married, these changes were all outside of my control, like so many things that happen everyday. For my first 100 days here, I decided to work on making positive changes in aspects of my life that are within my control. What follows are some strategies that resulted in the greatest amount of progress for me - hopefully you can use these in your own life.
Take small risks
I wanted to gain confidence with public speaking, so I took a small risk and joined the Toastmasters club that meets here at LinkedIn. Everybody in the group has been where I was when they started, and I have been able to learn from them and improve every week.
Seeing progress has led to more confidence, and consequently I’ve started to take more risk. Just last week I stood in front of the whole company and asked a question at the all-hands meeting, something I did not have the nerve to do before. This Thursday I will be giving my first prepared speech to the Toastmasters group (come by if you’re around)!
Ask the experts
I have a hard time asking for help, and this leads to a lot of frustration and wasted time. So in these first months at LinkedIn I’ve worked on reaching out to others when I’m working on code that I don’t grasp. In doing this, I’ve found that everyone is more than happy to help. The culture is very collaborative here, and everyone wants the team to be successful. Like public speaking, it gets easier the more I do it.
Prioritize before email
On a typical day, I receive 100-150 emails. I’m subscribed to 45 mailing lists (yes, I counted). Reading email first thing when I arrive at the office tends to leave me unfocused and reactive, and I don’t make progress on the most important items for the day.
To stay focused and effective, I prioritize my day before I open the first email. I keep a personal task list, so that when I arrive at the office I already know what my top priorities are for the day. This puts me in a more proactive and focused mindset.
Another strategy I use mitigate the general time sink of email is priority inbox with some aggressive filtering. It took a month or so for me to train Gmail to recognize which message are important, and since then emails from my boss and the team show up at the top. The filters keep any unimportant messages out of my inbox, and I can skim the highlights of everything else to stay up-to-date.
Sharpen the mind
When there are a lot of things going on at once, I find it hard to stay focused and be effective on the most important tasks. To help with this, I started attending the group meditation class offered twice a week here at LinkedIn. Since then it has become one of my favorite perks of this job.
In the short term, the meditation is a refreshing break from a busy day, and a chance to clear out my head. In the long term, I am seeing results outside of the class time. I am able to stay more focused, and deal with situations more effectively. And I have begun to notice when I am unfocused, and need to take a break for a few minutes. I’m wasting less time, and getting more done.
What do you want to accomplish in the next 100 days? What strategies have you found to be the most successful in your own life?
From Tony Robbins on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tonyrobbins/status/580480718402428928 ↩
“Ouch! A Close Look at LinkedIn Corporation Stock’s 44% 1-Day Decline”, http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/02/06/ouch-a-close-look-at-linkedin-corporation-stocks-4.aspx ↩
“LinkedIn’s new SF home: a 26-story skyscraper”, http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/LinkedIn-s-new-SF-home-a-26-story-skyscraper-6889635.php ↩
“Microsoft to Acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion”, https://www.wsj.com/articles/microsoft-to-acquire-linkedin-in-deal-valued-at-26-2-billion-1465821523 ↩