some of our clients:
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • YPO
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • US Army
  • Air New Zealand
  • WB
  • Red Bull
  • Frito Lay
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Delta Airlines
  • bp

How Jeff Weiner Thinks


During a CNBC interview on June 19, 2019, Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, referred to his role as his “dream job”. Weiner received a 97 percent approval rating in the 2019 Top CEOs Employees’ Choice Glassdoor poll. And he played a vital role in LinkedIn’s $26 billion acquisition by Microsoft in June 2016. While reviewing Jeff Weiner’s LinkedIn profile today, I couldn’t help but note how he deploys Optimal Thinking to best position himself and LinkedIn.

Currently CEO at LinkedIn, the web’s largest and most powerful network of professionals.

So what makes Weiner tick? Some years ago, I had the privilege of analyzing Weiner’s thinking during LinkedIn’s 2013, 2014, and 2015 first quarter earnings conference calls. I rated every word, phrase and sentence in his commentary based on my Hierarchy of Thinking Styles model (from Optimal Thinking, extraordinary positive thinking, moderate positive thinking, moderate negative thinking, extraordinary negative thinking to totally negative thinking).

Jeff Weiner Thinking Profile

Weiner clearly knows how to achieve acceptance — even when confronted with probing investment analysts. While reading the transcript, I was fascinated by his choice of language.  A seemingly born networker, Weiner used moderate positive thinking to connect with his audience and gain their acceptance.  Weiner used words like “pleased”, “healthy”, “nicely”, and  “manage”.  He also used phrases like “delivering value”, “useful offerings”, “more accessible”, “nice rate of growth”, “good progress”, and  “good traction”.

Rather than differentiate LinkedIn with extraordinary qualitative comments, he deployed hard facts and numbers to articulate LinkedIn’s exceptional performance.

We are approaching 3.5 million active company profiles, 300,000 jobs, more than 3 billion endorsements, more than 24,000 university pages, and billions of weekly updates flowing through the network.

What Motivates Jeff Weiner?

As moderate positive thinkers are motivated by acceptance, it is not surprising that Weiner attributes his success to compassion.  Weiner helped to establish The Compassion Project, a digital learning system for elementary school students. He understands that when we view others with compassion and acceptance, we can initiate necessary change.

How Jeff Weiner Uses Optimal Thinking

Optimal Thinking empowers moderate positive thinkers to optimize acceptance.  Optimal Thinkers focus on the best actions to achieve what is most important. So what does “the best” mean to Jeff Weiner?

During his Wharton School commencement speech in 2018, Weiner combined moderate positive thinking and Optimal Thinking.

It meant walking a mile in the other person’s shoes; and understanding their hopes, their fears, their strengths and their weaknesses…  (Moderate positive thinking)
And it meant doing everything within my power to set them up to be successful. (Optimal Thinking)

Weiner believes that job interviewers only need to ask candidates one optimal question.

What’s your ultimate dream job?

He deploys Optimal Thinking skillfully to encapsulate the context of LinkedIn’s standards and direction.

In 2013, LinkedIn furthered its efforts to become the definitive professional publishing platform, delivering the right content to the right member, at the right time..

Weiner also uses Optimal Thinking to articulate how LinkedIn creates value.

LinkedIn creates value for members by connecting them to the people, knowledge, and opportunities that matter most to them professionally.

He uses Optimal Thinking to define LinkedIn’s priorities.

Mobile was a top strategic priority for LinkedIn in 2014, and we focused our resources to ensure that our product and engineering organizations were fully mobilized

Want to Put Optimal Thinking to the Test?

If you are a CEO, senior executive or rising star who is facing an immediate challenge, I would like to prove that Optimal Thinking will give you the best chance of achieving everything you want.  With Optimal thinking, you will experience peak performance while dealing with your greatest challenge.

The transcripts used in this article are © 2013, 2014, 2015.

This post is part of the “How CEO’s Think™” Optimal Thinking article series.

If you would like to nominate a well-known leader for a How CEOs Think analysis, feel free in your comments below.

4 Responses to “How Jeff Weiner Thinks”

  1. Uju Onwuzulike says:

    In my view, every executive should take the optimal thinking assessment. Knowing our dominant thinking pattern will help us to know the areas to optimize.

  2. Abrar Ali says:

    I really enjoyed about how CEOs think especially the graphs given here for comparison. I would like to take your 360 assessment to compare myself. Thanks.

  3. Sally R says:

    I’m enjoying your thinking series. Very fresh perspective and enlightening. I learned a lot from the way you described how Jeff Weiner uses language to connect. I guess that’s why he’s leading the global “connection” organization. I am going to take your 360 assessment now and see how I compare.

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