Saturday, February 23, 2013

Will Work For Vision

"I have been evolving a personal vision statement for some time. It’s expanding the world’s collective wisdom and compassion." -- Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn

Day two at the Wisdom 2.0 conference began with a session titled, "Mindfully Building a Company from the Ground Up" and ended with a session titled "The Art of Conscious Leadership" which featured a conversation with Jeff Weiner.  In between there were conversations with people from Google, Facebook, Twitter and companies with products so new that the average person, or at least me, hasn't heard of them...yet.  Jack Kornfield and Jon Kabat-Zinn, two meditation teachers whose books have informed and inspired my meditation practice the last 20 years, shared their wisdom so that we might have a glimpse into finding our own wisdom as well.  

I met some amazing people who are passionate about their work and making a difference in the world.  I took a walk in the San Francisco sunshine, sat in the meditation room for 30 minutes, strolled the exhibit hall admiring the art and wares for sale that were beyond my budget and enjoyed dinner with colleagues.  It was a good day.

The most inspiring part of the day was listening to Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn.  He talked about why managing compassionately is core to his principles and practice (read an article he wrote about the topic here) and he shared his dream for the world.  I am not a LinkedIn customer but after hearing Weiner speak about his vision to expand the world's compassion and wisdom and his commitment to his employees and his customers, that will probably change.   The man is a leader with a vision and dream to make the world a better place.  Sign me up to help him make it come true.

As I listened to Weiner I thought about what ministers and CEOs, school teachers and meditation teachers, any one who wishes to lead and make a difference in the world must be able to do.  Cast a vision, a vision that is compelling, inspiring and possible.   The importance of vision is something that business and religion agrees on.  The Bible, Proverbs 29:18, proclaims, "Where there is no vision the people perish." So do businesses - for profit or not - and religious and spiritual communities.

Jeff Weiner is an example of a CEO who understands the power of vision, especially a vision grounded in something larger than himself or making money.  He says:  "I draw a distinction between a vision and a mission.  The vision is your dream.  It's your true north.  It inspires you and keeps you going.  The mission is a realizable, achievable and measurable objective that's ideally inspirational.  Expanding the world's wisdom and compassion.  That's the vision.  That's the true north that leads me into opportunities like this, allows me to create opportunities for people to share highly relevant business intelligence and knowledge."

LinkedIn is one way Jeff Weiner plans to realize his vision which is to expand the world's wisdom and compassion.  He's worked on his vision for many, many years and he speaks about it in a way that not only makes it sound possible but invites and inspires people to help make it come true.  Most of us won't be CEOs of companies with thousands of people worth millions, soon to be billions, of dollars.  But each of us has a vision, a vision that we need others to help make come true.  The deeper we know it, the more passionately we articulate it, the more fully we embody it, the greater possibility it will come true.  Where there is no vision the people will perish.  Without the vision casters, us!



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