How Open and Honest Communication Transformed My Career

February 4, 2015

For most of my career, I have had two identities. During the daytime, I was a leader in LinkedIn’s global sales organization and during my spare time I was dedicated to making art.

Two years ago, I had an idea that wasn’t part of my day-to-day job, but it aligned with my aspiration to tell powerful stories through art.

Inspired by LinkedIn’s vision and culture, I wanted to create a visual story about why I thought the company was so cool. I shared the concept with a few members of my LinkedIn management team. They not only encouraged me to go for it, but also kept sharing feedback along the way to make my work better. Once the story went live, it was a hit and has amassed more than 500k views.

This experience led me down an unexpected path working with amazing LinkedIn leaders such as Jeff Weiner, Mike Gamson and Dan Shapero to illustrate some of our company’s biggest ideas, such as the billion dollar startup playbook and how we are transforming companies. It has also enabled me to transition to a new role within the company, where I combine my interests in entrepreneurship and storytelling. I feel that I am on a trajectory towards achieving my dream of creating narratives that help others see and transform the world in new ways, while adding value to my company and others around me. It has been a fun ride and I am extraordinarily grateful to work in an environment where diverse voices can be heard and careers are transformed.

Looking back, I realize that these transformative experiences happened when I was clear and honest with my manager and myself about what I wanted to achieve in my career. Instead of hiding my aspirations, I shared them and they became a part of my full-time job. However, it turns out that such conversations are far from the norm.

According to Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and author of The Alliance, the typical employee and employer relationship is broken. Companies struggle to foster the open career conversations I was able to have, while employees tend to hide their true aspirations and end up jumping ship in search of better opportunities.

The solution is for managers to start thinking of employees as allies in a two-way relationship working towards common goals. By providing employees the opportunity to transform their careers, while recognizing their independence, companies can recruit, manage and retain the entrepreneurial talent they need.

Today, I am sharing a visual story based on The Alliance that I have created alongside Ben Casnocha, co-author of the book. The story is a short guide to help managers have open and honest career conversations with their employees. It’s a story I can relate to and hope you enjoy it.

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