Purpose is Key to Navigating Change

This week Microsoft shocked the world, announcing they will acquire the professional networking giant LinkedIn, for 26 billion dollars. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, publicly shared the letter he wrote to LinkedIn employees, and his message truly resonated with us at WeSpire.

An acquisition can often mean significant change within an organization. Change is also something that has a tendency to frighten people if they don’t understand the reason for the change and how the change will impact them. A recent Cone study found that over 70% of employees have more loyalty to a company who helps them contribute to important issues, in times of change. In his note, Weiner explains LinkedIn’s decision to sell to Microsoft, it was inspiring to see PURPOSE was a main driver of their decision. Weiner says, “when Satya (CEO of Microsoft) first proposed the idea of acquiring LinkedIn, he said it was absolutely essential that we had alignment on two things: PURPOSE and structure.”

LinkedIn’s purpose is, “to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” For Microsoft it is, “to empower every individual and organization in the world to achieve more.”

This shared, underlying purpose will continue to be the foundation for both LinkedIn and Microsoft employees, regardless of what changes may come, hopefully making the transition easier. Rather than expecting employees to get behind a new sense or purpose, they will continue to work towards solving the same problem, just now with more ideas, perspectives and points of view. Weiner elegantly explained, “what we do matters, and it matters now more than ever.”

Both LinkedIn and Microsoft’s senses of purpose have played a part in helping them become two of the most innovative organizations in the world. Their mission statements have helped them to focus, solve very specific problems, and provided their employees with a sense they are working to achieve goals far greater than each of their individual goals.

What do you think? Will this shared sense of purpose and their ability sustain their own individual sense of purpose be enough to make the new Microsoft and LinkedIn merger successful?