Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn's CEO, has had nothing short of a successful career. After graduating from the Wharton School of Business, he went on to assume executive leadership roles at Warner Bros. and Yahoo and was appointed to the board of directors for Intuit before arriving at LinkedIn. 

In 2011, Weiner and Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) were the overall winners of Ernst & Young's national Entrepreneur of the Year award, and in 2014, Weiner was recognized as among the top 10 CEOs of U.S. tech companies.  

So what's his secret? 

In a New York Times interview, Weiner shared his three best pieces of career advice.   

1. "Know what you want to accomplish."

"You only have 15 seconds to answer this question: Looking back on your career 20, 30 years from now, what do you want to say you've accomplished?" 

Whew! What a question. This is Weiner's response to those who ask him for career advice. As you can imagine, Weiner says that most people are unable to articulate their career goals. This leads to his first piece of advice

"Know what it is you ultimately want to accomplish, optimizing for passions and skills, and not one without the other. Also, be open to allowing outside forces to help clarify, reinforce, and facilitate the path to making it happen."

I think that everyone has a general idea of what he or she wants to accomplish--but therein lies the problem. If our aspirations are too vague, then so will be the path to achieving them. 

Homing in on your long-term vision provides the short-term incentive needed to put in the legwork. It also helps you narrow in on the abilities you need to develop, the knowledge you need to gain, and the areas you need to focus your time and energy on. 

2. "Surround yourself with the best talent." 

We are all shaped by our environments.Surround yourself with people who inspire you and challenge you. Also, be intentional about your associations and network. If not, it's easy to inadvertently expose ourselves to influences contrary to our plans. This doesn't just mean your manager. 

"It's about everyone you're associated with, day in and day out. Surround yourself with only the best you can find," Weiner said. 

I read a quote by Jim Rohn (American author, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker) that really put this into perspective: "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

Make sure that you're surrounding yourself with positive influences who can support you in your career development. 

3. "Always be learning." 

"The world moves too quickly now to rest on the knowledge we gained earlier in our lives," says Weiner. 

A fitting piece of advice after LinkedIn acquired Lynda.com, an online education provider.

As important as being able to pick up new concepts is, it's even more critical to adopt a growth mindset -- a belief that intelligence and abilities can be cultivated over time. Those who welcome the idea that aptitude is not fixed or predetermined embrace feedback and seek out opportunities for development -- they become lifelong learners.

It's hard to predict where our careers will take us. Building in these pieces of advice will ensure you position yourself to succeed regardless of which variables change. 

Published on: Oct 18, 2017