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Suite Talk: Clifford Rosenberg, LinkedIn

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Clifford Rosenberg, managing director, Southeast Asia, Australia & New Zealand at LinkedIn shares how being aligned with the company’s core cultural values has helped him enhance his leadership skills.

Your career has been dominated by work around technology. What gets you excited about this area?

I love the way technology constantly creates new opportunities for individuals and businesses.

It breaks down barriers and empowers people to be more productive, to learn new things and connect with others around the globe.

The excitement for me also lies in its potential to help people change, grow, learn and be inspired.

You’ve also donned the hat of entrepreneur, investing and consulting with a number of online initiatives. What has been the most memorable moment for you in this space?

I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on areas that I am passionate about throughout my career.

Whilst we have grown significantly over the last few years, LinkedIn has retained the energy and dynamism of a start-up.

 

Being LinkedIn’s first employee in Australia certainly ranks very high up on my list of incredible experiences. It was a real honor and privilege to be the first LinkedIn employee in the ANZ region, building the operations from scratch in November 2009.

I was delighted to take on the role of heading up our Southeast Asia business in 2011, and today we have in excess of 12 million members across the region.

Having led start-ups, do you bring some of that energy back into the corporate environment with LinkedIn? How does that experience help you at work?

Whilst we have grown significantly over the last few years, LinkedIn has retained the energy and dynamism of a start-up.

We are a hyper-growth company and that mentality drives the speed at which we keep a pulse on understanding and responding to the needs of our clients and members.

Having been an entrepreneur, I can empathise with the challenges faced by many small business owners and entrepreneurs. I can certainly see the incredible opportunities made available by LinkedIn, to network on a global scale and generate economic opportunities for themselves and their teams.

What’s your signature leadership style?

I am firm believer in having very strong personal values that match those of the company, and also living and breathing those values every single moment of every day.

I am firm believer in having very strong personal values that match those of the company, and also living and breathing those values every single moment of every day.

My values and core beliefs drive who I am as a person, as well as how I act and behave as a leader.

When I look at the core values of LinkedIn, I feel right at home – examples include relationships matter, being open, honest and constructive at all times and acting like an owner.

I am also a huge believer in authenticity as a leader and treating everyone as I would want them to treat me – with respect, humility and a good dose of healthy humour.

LinkedIn recently crossed two million members in Malaysia. How do you enable your teams across the region to deliver such great results?

One driving force at LinkedIn that motivates the entire company is our “Members First” approach to business.

We look at various ways that will help our members become more successful and productive in their professional journey.

Our rationale is that if our members are successful, we will be successful too – the two are inexorably linked.

That’s why we are encouraged to see healthy growth in our member base, not just in Malaysia but across the Asia Pacific region as well.

How do you define the role that HR plays at LinkedIn?

The talent agenda is top of mind for us, and our HR teams are crucial partners to our success, from attracting and retaining top talent to creating exceptional employee experiences.

The talent agenda is top of mind for us, and our HR teams are crucial partners to our success, from attracting and retaining top talent to creating exceptional employee experiences.

Our HR teams often wear many hats.  The first one that comes to mind is that of a “marketer” to build and promote a compelling and differentiated employer brand, which enables us to attract and retain top talent.

HR is also a key partner to the business, especially when it comes to ensuring we have a strong talent pipeline to support the growth of our business.

How closely do you work with the HR team, and what helps that collaboration?

At LinkedIn, talent is our number one operating priority. I work very closely with our HR teams as business partners to ensure we have the right talent to fuel our growth plans.

We work closely on initiatives to enable our people to excel at their jobs, dream big and have fun at the same time.

This is key to how we attract and retain top talent; by providing them with a stimulating and challenging environment which constantly pushes them to grow, while expanding their thinking and knowledge.

As a business leader, what is your people-related priority this year?

To continue to foster an environment where our employees feel empowered to take intelligent risks to create value for our clients and members.

Taking intelligent risks is a core LinkedIn value, and we want our teams to keep dreaming big and getting things done, two features that often characterise a start-up mentality.

I constantly strive to surround myself with great talent that have similar values and beliefs to my own and that of the company.

Taking risks involves bold, courageous and well-considered decisions, and a healthy tolerance for failure.  That inspires others, wins respect and encourages others to do the same.

What is your secret to maintaining positive emotional energy at work?

I constantly strive to surround myself with great talent that have similar values and beliefs to my own and that of the company.

This helps drive a culture of collaboration, which in turn delivers great results. My positive emotional energy is very much driven from the super-inspiring colleagues that I have the privilege of working with each and every day.

How do you like spending time over the weekends?

I really enjoy spending quality time with the family. My teenage son has started taking up golf which I find is a great way to spend time with him.

As a family we also love to travel and I always try to combine our travel time with the other great passion in my life beyond work and family: photography.

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