Recognize This! – LinkedIn explains the difference between culture, values and behaviours.

Yesterday I wrote about the steps needed to proactively manage company culture. Today, I’d like to look at one company who does just that – LinkedIn.

You’d think a company all about serving the needs of Human Resources would get this right, but that’s certainly not always the case. However, LinkedIn does get it right. Indeed, they take it to a level I rarely see – adding an additional layer of “dimension.”

As Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, said in an interview in The New York Times “Corner Office” column:

“So our culture has five dimensions: transformation, integrity, collaboration, humor and results. And there are six values: members first; relationships matter; be open, honest and constructive; demand excellence; take intelligent risks; and act like an owner. And by far the most important one is members first. We as a company are only as valuable as the value we create for our members.”

Let’s look at that more closely. LinkedIn’s culture has five “dimensions” that many reading this probably would identify as “values” in their own companies. But then, LinkedIn layers in the values, which are different.

It’s how the values are different from culture that’s important – the values are very clearly behavioural actions. The values clearly say, “Go behave this way in how you get your job done.” And those values clearly support the culture.

Mr. Weiner also comments in the article:

“We take culture very seriously, and we do draw a distinction at LinkedIn between culture and values. Culture is who we are. It’s essentially the personality of our company — who we are and who we aspire to be. Values are the principles upon which we make day-to-day decisions. And of course your values are a subset of your culture, so they’re very much inextricably linked. Getting that right helps with recruiting. It helps with motivating. It helps with inspiring. It helps with productivity.”

Your culture is the culmination of how you behave every day and the decisions you make to get the work done. Get that right, and everything else that drives organisation success falls into place.

Do your values drive your culture, or are they merely a plaque on the wall?

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