This year, I undertook and completed my LinkedIn recommendations project.
Unlike many, I run my LinkedIneage pretty tightly. I don’t accept invitations from people I don’t know and trust, and I remove connections who won’t return calls or emails or who have just grown distant for whatever reason.
One of the things I wanted to do with my LinkedIn connections is proactively write a recommendation (without being asked) for a handful of my closest business connections.
My motivation was simply to appreciate those who had really made a difference in my professional growth. And it was exciting to hear the surprised excitement when they were received. To me, it’s important that those who’ve really made a life-changing difference know who they are.
Speaking of which, I recently received two recommendations of my own. And what was most gratifying and amazing about them was not the simple fact that I received some praise. Most exciting was that what they wrote mirrors what my goals have been for leading and managing the teams I’ve built.
See for yourself. This is from Michael Ryan Wilson, an excellent strategist and leader, in his own right:
“Jon is a different kind of leader. Certainly not textbook, he empowers and trusts his team members to make the right decisions. The accountability and purpose he gave art directors, designers, writers, and developers helped grow a creative department in both knowledge and physical numbers. His ability to identify and utilize talent, implementing structure, was essential in building and leading teams.
I was lucky to work for him, on very large accounts and projects for Verizon Wireless and Safeway. The marketing strategies and creative solutions he drove were ambitious, and one of the things I appreciated the most. We never settled for “just good enough”, as long as it exceeded the business goals. With Jon, there is no ego’s, he can be told his idea is wrong, and will help adapt and evolve the right solution. This is how we came to create such visionary work.
I am thankful to have been a key piece in his team. He gave me the support and confidence to make the next steps in my career. I genuinely look forward to working with Jon again in the future.”
The second is Tanya Williams, who is an amazing designer I was fortunate to work with for nearly three years:
“Jon is one of the best leaders I’ve been privileged to work with in my career. I’ve seen him double the size of our creative team and our creative business within the first year that he worked at Responsys. He took entry-level creatives and turned them into leaders. He took a team that with a struggling morale and turned them into the team that everybody wanted to be a part of.
Jon is fearless. He approaches every project as if anything was possible. As a result, his “dream big” mentality has won the business of clients and their customers (oh, and lots of industry awards).
My favorite thing about Jon though is how he leads his team. Jon genuinely wants to help his employees become better at what they do. He is encouraging and creates an environment that is fun and rewarding, an environment that people are proud to be a part of. He is always willing to confront and solve issues one on one with his peers and team members that result in employee personal growth and trust.
I am lucky enough to be one of those team members who is better than I once was and all because Jon had seen my potential and wouldn’t let me slide. I would be honored to work with him again one day.”
In both cases, what they wrote is exactly what I aspire to be every day. They both describe exactly the experience I want my employees to have. It’s what I want to bring to any team I lead.
I’m thrilled that they both had the kind of experience I’m trying to provide, and hopefully, others on my team feel the same.