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There are five benefits of being LinkedIn that every leader (we are all leaders) should take advantage of.  When LinkedIn first came out, I saw little value in it and was somewhat annoyed by all the unemployed people wanting to connect.  In recent years, I have changed my views as the LinkedIn community has grown and changed in nature.  LinkedIn has become a powerful communication tool.


You should get LinkedIn to take advantage of these five benefits:

  1. Building Relationships and Communicating with People. People are all different and have their own communication preferences.  One communication channel does not fit all.  Social Networking channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter will help you build relationships, share information and communicate with people.
  2. Sharing with Others and Expanding your influence.  Many of the important things in life were learnt in Kindergarten: How to get along with others; How to share; etc.  The great thing about Social Networking is that it is a “Win-Win” proposition. The more you connect, the more you are able to share with and influence others.  As you expand your network, you enhance the power of the networks for everyone you are connected with.
  3. Connecting with Customers.  LinkedIn is a great tool to help identify, connect with and stay current with your customers.  Just yesterday, I noticed on LinkedIn that a COO at one of our customers had just been promoted to CEO.  We have used LinkedIn on various occasions to identify and reach out to contacts at potential new customers. 
  4. Connecting with Supply Partners.  Please see the story below for a powerful example of this.
  5. Recruiting people.  While LinkedIn has grown in its advantages, it remains a place to connect with and recruit people.


Here is a story with a compelling example of the power of being LinkedIn:

During one of our weekly chats, Pat Ciriacks, People & Culture Leader and Regional Leader for Creation Technologies, shared this story.

Pat was in our St. Peter Business Unit and was alerted to a supply issue that was delaying a sizable customer shipment.  Our supplier was unable to provide a critical component as their up-stream supplier was experiencing quality issues molding a plastic housing.  The up-stream supplier produced the molding in North Carolina, shipped it to our direct supplier in North Carolina for 1st article inspection and then forwarded it to our supplier’s assembly facility in Mexico for production and shipment to us. Total lead time was typically 2 weeks.

The upstream supplier started experiencing process problems and Nancy Owen, our St. Peter Supply Chain Leader, observed that our supplier was not giving this situation appropriate priority.  She requested help from John Makela, our St. Peter General Manager, who later asked Pat for assistance.

Pat had knowledge of the upstream-supplier from past dealings, but had no existing contacts.  He checked his LinkedIn contacts and found that a 2nd degree contact (a contact of one of Pat’s direct contacts) was Supply Chain Manager at the upstream-supplier’s Medical business.  Pat noticed on LinkedIn that this woman had attended the University of Wisconsin.  So, Pat called the Supply Chain Manager, introduced himself and mentioned that he was from Wisconsin.  She replied “I could hear it in your voice.”  Pat explained his need to contact someone influential in the molding business.  The Supply Chain Manager said she was late for a performance by one of her grandchildren, but that she would pass his contact information along to a co-worker.

Fifteen minutes later, Pat received a call from the Business Leader at the molding plant in North Carolina.  The Business Leader was extremely courteous and professional and expressed a sincere desire to help.  After explaining the need to expedite the delivery of these plastic housings, Pat received assurance from the Business Leader that he would see what he could do.

Pat received a phone call at 7:15 am the next day from our supplier who sheepishly informed him that the housings were being run and that a courier was on the way to pick up the first articles.  He conceded that Pat was able to get better results and agreed to investigate the possibility of moving the tooling up to North Carolina, from Mexico, in order to complete the parts over the weekend and ship them to St. Peter on Monday (instead of 2 weeks later)!  Nancy confirmed later that day that this indeed happened.  Success!

This story shows the importance of:

  1. Expanding your “circle of influence” and not underestimating the power of establishing and nurturing contacts; and
  2. Asking for help when faced with a challenge.  It’s a sign of strength, not weakness.  A partner or coach may offer a different perspective even if they don’t have a solution and most people want to help their partners succeed.

One definition of innovation is “doing more with less.” The above story provides a great example of getting better results, faster, with less “work” by leveraging relationships.  Well done Nancy, John and Pat!

If you would like to connect with Pat or I:

Are you LinkedIn?  What benefits do you see?  Have you encountered any pitfalls?

4 Comments to 5 Benefits of Being LinkedIn

  1. Jul 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Arthur- you build a compelling argument for me to ‘work’ LinkedIn more aggressively. Appreciate the insights!

  2. Doug McDonald's Gravatar Doug McDonald
    Jul 5, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Hi Arthur, I am linkedIn and have been for about 1-2 years. I experienced something very interesting recently. I am not certain how to descibe it (pitfall or benefit), but it is a twist on the use of this communication tool.
    Another Creation person, who was connected to me by 3rd degree (and who I don’t know personally), was presenting themselves on LinkedIn with a company title that appeared false. Creation Vice President of …….
    So, I notifed our local leader associated with this function and asked them if they would investigate.
    I don’t think everyone realizes that Social Media cuts both ways. The power of global contacts meshed with absolute transparancy.

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