Growth Through Disruption: 3 Key Lessons from LinkedIn’s Mike Gamson

August 3, 2016

Growth Through Disruption: 3 Key Lessons from LinkedIn’s Mike Gamson

At last month’s Chicago Innovation Summit, Mike Gamson, SVP of Global Solutions at LinkedIn, shared insights on the theme of “Growth Through Disruption.” Addressing an audience filled with innovators, entrepreneurs and civic leaders, Gamson spoke about how technology has transformed the way we learn, grow, work and connect.

In the world of marketing — and particularly technology marketing — the impact of disruption is innately felt in our daily lives. For example, take the widespread adoption of, and reliance on, smartphones to power our content consumption and communication channels. Or the importance of platforms like LinkedIn and Amazon in our everyday business and consumer decision processes. Today’s digital consumers demand relevancy and crave innovations that enable them to achieve success. As marketers, we must satisfy these expectations while also managing and building both our companies and careers. And as technology marketers, we must execute all of the above and remain a trailblazing, nimble and inventive cut above the rest. Easy, right?

As Gamson spoke and reflected on societal and economic disruption, three key themes emerged that are applicable for today’s tech marketing, sales and business leaders. Here are some meaningful ways to fuse together disruption with the modern workplace and build valuable relationships with prospects, customers and employees.

1. Recognize opportunity and know when things are changing

The tech industry is no stranger to speedy change. But as our digital age enables new opportunities for the global workforce, it’s imperative that enterprises and their constituents adopt a growth mindset. Over the last year, we’ve witnessed a number of momentous decisions that will define a new retinue of tech solutions and services providers. From HP’s strategic, sales-driven split into HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise to Microsoft’s Acquisition of LinkedIn and Dell’s unifying merger with EMC (I’ll even throw in Facebook’s 2014 purchase of Oculus VR), all of these strategic business pivots signify the importance of taking intelligent risks and embracing transformation in a disruptive marketplace.

At an individual level, the onus on the modern worker to disrupt oneself has never been greater. Many of today’s professionals struggle to keep up with the skills required to fit in and flourish in data-driven, digitally savvy workplaces. This has significantly impacted the supply and demand of jobs — reinforcing how important it is for professionals to continually monitor their strengths and weaknesses and proactively seek out learning and development opportunities in order to remain competitive. LinkedIn’s acquisition of Lynda affirms the value of learning and skill building to our future jobs and professional lives. While we know tech decision makers tend to be plenty ambitious, we should harness this drive to help our organizations, clients, and other members of the global workforce champion a growth mindset.

2. Your network is your most important professional asset

As societal disruption continues to occur throughout the professional work environment, and the workforce has become increasingly mobile, professional connections have come to matter more than ever in enabling ongoing career success. Gamson spoke passionately about why that was the reason LinkedIn was started in the first place, and holds so firmly to “members first” value. “Our success [as an individual] can be pushed forth through our network of relationships; if we nurture it, it can stay with us forever.”

In China, for example, where there has been large physical migration, people find themselves looking for jobs in a place where they didn’t grow up. Harnessing their professional connections ensures they have a permanent identity no matter where they live. For technology companies in an environment of constant change, disruption and growth, this can be valuable. We see this in technology professionals’ dominant and active presence on LinkedIn and in the leading insights and conversations shared via the top technology influencers. Sharing your unique point of view on IoT, cloud computing, security or data centers is elevating the thinking of the technology and technology marketing industry as a whole, and both your peers and your customers are taking notice.

3. Hire, manage, and cultivate top talent

Throughout the summit, a number of speakers discussed the changing professional environment, noting today’s “liquid workforce,” where both employers and employees expect a more flexible work environment, including how long they commit to each other professionally. Gamson pointed out that the average employee will have 13 different jobs throughout their career. “Today”, he notes, “the employer-employee model has changed: employees expect their boss to invest a certain amount of development in them and in turn they commit to helping achieve company goals.” They both know it won’t last forever.

As a result, in order to attract and harness the most diverse and capable workforce, top employers are investing heavily in improving all aspects of their hiring practices. LinkedIn has helped catalyze this process by enabling companies to identify and reach out to qualified candidates, effectively build their brand, and efficiently connect people to opportunity at scale. Earlier this year, LinkedIn also released, Top Attractors, our list of the world’s most sought-after companies. And, unsurprisingly, the majority of leading enterprises were technology brands who have cared deeply about their employees, corporate image, and company culture for many years.

This demonstrates a positive feedback loop all brands and talent management teams should strive to achieve — to ensure the success of their company’s future and maintain competitive advantage. Technology companies have often been the leaders in thinking progressively and being prepared and flexible for the changing expectations of the workforce (particularly Millennials) and thinking outside the box when assessing a candidate’s skills and the value they may bring to the organization. Lessons can also be learned as tech marketers think about department structure and defining roles. The way to be most successful is with a forward-thinking approach - less boundaries in responsibilities, breaking down functional silos, fostering collaboration and modeling to customer experience.

To learn more about the Chicago Innovation Awards organization and how they’re fostering innovation and connecting technology professionals, visit the CIA website or follow CIA on LinkedIn.

For weekly updates on B2B and technology marketing, be sure to subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog.