LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky discusses career direction

LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky discusses career direction

 March 16, 2022

LinkedIn's Chief Executive Officer, Ryan Roslansky, says: "There are two important things I have learned about career paths over the past 20 years. First, career paths are different for everyone. And second, if you don’t have a principled approach to what you value in your career, chances are you will fall into someone else’s plan."

Ryan shares why he believes it is important for employees to know what they value in their careers and how employees can plan to get to where they want to be.

"As easy as it may seem to have a principled approach, I’ve learned over thousands of career conversations that people often have no idea where to start. So I wanted to share a two-by-two framework I’ve used for myself and with others for over a decade to help bring focus. It starts with an obvious, but often difficult question to answer - “What are the two most important things that matter to you in your career?”  For some, it may be feeling appreciated or liking the people you work with. For others, it may be the paycheck you need to support your family or having work-life balance. And for others it may be making an impact or continually developing new skills. It can be anything, but you have to choose two," he explains.

"Now, usually when I ask this question, I get back either a blank stare, or a laundry list of items. Either is ok, because this question is really just the start of a process to think deeply and objectively about what you value. You can’t value nothing, and you can’t value everything. Your top two are a good place to start. With some people this process takes minutes, with others it takes weeks," he comments.

Understanding career values

"Once you have the two things you value most, simply plot them on a two-by-two graph like the one below. That top right quadrant is your professional true north. It’s what you care most about, and should be where you are happiest and most likely to do your best work. If you aren’t in the top right, you can make a plan to get there. If you are looking at a new job, ask yourself where you think that opportunity would be on this graph compared to your current opportunity. If you are managing someone, check in with them every few months to make sure they are in that top right quadrant; if they aren’t, work on a plan to get there," explains Ryan.

"Can you change what you value over time? Of course. But if you are doing it too frequently, you should ask yourself if you really know what you value," he says.

"Having a more deliberate and principled approach to what you value is a great first step to knowing whether you are heading in the right direction – especially as we all navigate uncertainty and the Great Reshuffle," Ryan concludes.

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