Many years ago in college I took an amazing business class that had us read and report on 10 bestselling business books in 10 weeks. We read books from people like Stephen Covey, Jim Collins, Edwards Deming and Peter Drucker. Although it was one of the hardest classes I took during my major, the class left a permanent mark on me and who I was to become.
Concepts like Big Hairy Audacious Goals and Systems Building, along with the importance of Trustworthiness and Open Communications in organizations, were settling in as standards for Great, or Built to Last, organizations! This class and the books I read influenced me so much that I used principles of these various books to run for student body President which I subsequently won. Many of the principles of these books stand out such as being proactive, maintaining an open culture & communication, building systems and creating Win-Win situations to name a few. However, one stands out to me beyond all others. That is:
This begs the question, what is Trustworthiness? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as worthy of confidence: dependable.
Now when we look at LinkedIn and its policies and practices, can we say we Trust LinkedIn? Is LinkedIn Trustworthy?
Now with 135+ Million members, LinkedIn is not going to please everyone, but I would suggest that LinkedIn is not Trustworthy… yet.
I wish I could say otherwise, but the problem is their Closed Door Policy to the users, strategists, consultants, and trainers looking to promote and endorse LinkedIn Corporation. Not only is it evident in that they refuse to engage and work with these LinkedIn Power Users, but it is evident in their User Agreement, particularly the category called “LinkedIn’s Do’s and Don’ts” which is riddled with things users break on a daily basis. Not only the average user, but LinkedIn’s corporate executives and many employees are also violating the user agreement, probably unknowingly, and certainly not maliciously, but nonetheless they are in violation… including the CEO and Founder.
The problem is LinkedIn’s User Agreement states we are not to give access of our profiles to anyone else, including assistants. This is only one of many areas that are challenging to understand.
For example, if you ever send an InMail on LinkedIn to Jeff Weiner the CEO at LinkedIn an expected response takes place. Test it out and see what happens. You won’t likely get a response from Jeff, you will get a corporate communications response or possibly a response from Jeff’s assistant. The same thing goes for Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn. To be fair, the first time I messaged Reid, he did respond personally, but thereafter, an assistant or corporate rep responded.
Now in and of itself, this is not a big deal and none of expect Jeff or Reid to respond personally. In fact, if you are a busy executive or business owner, you may even have an assistant that monitors your LinkedIn account or possibly helps you respond to messages you receive.
The reason this matters is because Trustworthiness requires confidence, assurance, faith and of course Trust. With LinkedIn putting forth a “Do as I say, not as I do” approach, I plead to LinkedIn Executives to embrace Trustworthiness, your users are waiting.