Once Again: A Linkedin "T.H.A.N.K.S.G.I.V.I.N.G."
As an adult, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday not just because of the abundance of good food and great football games but, rather, because of the limitless value contained in the word "Thanks". For that reason, I'm happy to revisit the "T.H.A.N.K.S.G.I.V.I.N.G. acronym I created specifically to memorialize my appreciation of the business value I've derived from working on Linkedin.*
T - Trust - It's not the technology, it's the trust. This is such a vitally important issue because we know that even for technology companies, technology alone is not enough. How many businesses have you seen that have forgotten that the first brick in building business is building trust? I'm glad that Linkedin has included this in the matrix of things with which they're building their business. Linkedin's founders and leaders have repeatedly answered the questions and concerns of MLPF members and have responded with aplomb even to our misbehavior. :-) (I trust they know that we're not incorrigible!:-)) Though they can't possibly participate everywhere they're wanted, their participation matters. And I'm thankful that they have participated here on MLPF.
H - Hopefulness - Some may think this is a "pablum" concept, "baby food" not meant for grownup business people, that it isn't important. But think of this: Would you return to Linkedin if you were not hopeful of improving your business/career with it? My experience with Linkedin has proven that I can find what I hope to find, what I desire to find in Linkedin. I have high hopes for my Linkedin success.
A - Abundance - Um, size does matter. But just as America doesn't have to have the largest population in order to offer the world rich opportunities, nor does Linkedin. It doesn't have to be the biggest in order to offer tremendous value to its members. But it just so happens that at 15 Million users, it is one of the largest business networking platforms. Linkedin had to reach a critical mass in order for its base to be encouraged that they can find what they need there. But Linkedin has grown and grown and grown - for over 4 years. That consistent, high rate of growth translates into just one rich word: ABUNDANCE - capitalized ABUNDANCE.
N - Network - As with all others on Linkedin, I had a network before I put my profile on Linkedin. But Linkedin has allowed me to amplify my network. The amplified version of my network is valuable to me. And it's of value to those who were in my network prior to our joining Linkedin. Linkedin helps me help my network better, more powerfully through the extension of the "roots" of my network.
K - Knowledge - There is all kinds of knowledge available to us these days. But Linkedin improves my business knowledge by permitting me to more easily look at the information of millions now within my reach. But not only that, Linkedin permits me to look at that information with an added dimension: a chance to know who knows those whom I know.
S - Speed. There are a number of things I thought of for the letter "S" in making this acronym for "T.H.A.N.K.S.G.I.V.I.N.G.": success, strategy, system, etc. But I chose "Speed" because speed matters in our businesses and in our careers. Linkedin is the speediest professional way to meet the professionals I want to meet for my business without the risks associated with spamming. I've met thousands more people through Linkedin than through any competing vehicle over a comparable period of time.
G - Growth - Some things are better bigger. I believe that's the case with my business. I believe it would be better if it were bigger. Linkedin gives me the most solid chance I'm aware of to do just that: make my business better by making my business bigger. Growing my business via Linkedin has proven to be the most effective means of being a bigger business. (In this case, bigger isn't just about adding new employees.)
I - Interdependence - Linkedin is about hand-in-hand networking. I help you. You help me. And that's the way it's supposed to be! :-) I'll take the initiative in finding who I need and in determining what I need from them. But I need your help in reaching them. In turn, I'll be there for you when you need me. You can depend on it! :-)
V - Value - Linkedin is a virtual vehicle that translates my efforts into real-world value. It's value we seek. And it's value we get when we approach Linkedin the right way. (The way we use it DOES matter.)
I - Independence - I have never stopped thinking about Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Self-Reliance" since the first day I read it as part of my high school homework assignment many years ago. (In the ensuing years, I've given away many audio copies of my reading it aloud. In the not too distant future, I hope to make it and others available on MP3.) Many seem to think that self-reliance, independence obviates or cancels out interdependence. My view is that that is not the case. We SHOULD do as much as we can possibly do on our own. That's independence, that's self-reliance. Once we've done our part and there's more that needs to be done, then we should readily reach out for the hands of others. We don't have to feel shy or otherwise uncomfortable in reaching out. Once we've done our part we shouldn't let trivialities interfere with our asking for help. Being independent doesn't mean we have to pretend to be omnipotent. Clearly, we should not reach out just for the sake of reaching out. We should reach out when there is a clear need to do so. Linkedin is a superb vehicle for those of us who need to independently do business - on our own. But it's a better vehicle when we discover how to use it interdependently, in working with others.
N - Needs - If I need nothing, Linkedin is of no value to me. But if I do have a business need, Linkedin offers abundant business solutions for my needs. I like that. I like that because I have LOTS of business needs. I need lots of things for my business to become better. I'm thankful that Linkedin makes it easier for me to meet those needs.
G - Goals - Goals help you, force you to target a time to satisfy your need. My needs become goals only when I set a time to meet those needs. When I associate a time to reach a goal, I can use Linkedin more effectively. Linkedin becomes more powerful to me. If I don't have a goal with an associated time frame in mind, I'm not ready to take advantage of Linkedin's power.
The Baker's Dozen Reason: YOU!!
Man, have I met some OUTSTANDING people via Linkedin! Beyond any other matter, today, I'm thankful for meeting YOU!!
Here's wishing you and yours have abundant reasons to be thankful.
*Originally published on 11.24.2005 (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/MyLinkedinPowerForum/message/8768 )