Sunday February 7th 2015, I landed in Dublin, right before the Six Nations game between Ireland and Wales to start, the following day, my next play as Linkedin´s Sales Solutions Manager for France, Portugal and Spain. I landed alone, my wife and my three daughters would come to Dublin after summer. It sounded as the best plan for the family.
Five months before I realised it was my time to leave the friends I made in my last 10 years in Forrester. I have always wanted to feel that I controlled my life and not that life controlled me so, every summer, I analyse if the last year went as I wanted or if needed to change something. On summer 2014 I realised it was the moment to move on to my next challenge. It is not easy to define your next play when you are 45, because you have the feeling it might be your last chance to make an important change, at least I had that feeling.
“Control your life, don’t let life control you”
My dreamed job would be selling change management solutions in a top Internet company, or selling CX/Digital Transformation projects in one of the big consulting companies, so those were the objectives I defined. My mother use to tell me “you need to be careful with what you dream because it may come true”. I had one of those situations, I had 2 dream offers, one in EY in Madrid and the other one in Linkedin in the HQs, in Dublin. I made the leap and I flew to Dublin.
The first week in Linkedin was amazing much better than I could expect. When you imagine your dream job, you never think about the first day. That day where you arrive to the office and you do not know anybody. I started on a Monday, I will never forget that by Friday when I went by myself to the lunch room people from 3 different tables called me to join them for lunch, that is Linkedin´s spirit that has helped me so much rise to the challenge in my current transformation journey.
Linkedin is a very intense company, so many things happen so fast. In my first months I had to learn the company dynamics, always thinking about how to do everything at scale, how to manage SMB pipeline (I come from an Enterprise background) and my favourite, how to manage millennials with constant coaching. I have learned I love to work with millennials, they have so much energy and they are so demanding. Surprisingly I realised that I also had to unlearn a lot of things. Linkedin´s Culture and Values are not just a bunch of posters on the walls, you leave and your breath them, and you apply them in your daily decisions. Transformation, Integrity, Collaboration, Humour and Results, they sound cool, although they are not always that easy to apply. I realised that I was more convoluted than I thought, and in Linkedin that did not work. Linkedin employees lead with compassion and in a direct, honest and transparent manner they try to understand the reasons behind behaviours they do not understand or agree with, instead of criticize and complaint on the back, so be ready to provide and receive feedback as a natural way of interaction. If there is a conflict between 2 employees managers are trained to promote clean escalation, which means to help them get to an agreement by providing the necessary tools instead of simply raise the hierarchy of the conflict. Relationships matter, and as a consequence of the way relationships are managed you can just focus on giving the best of you to the company without needing to constantly cover your back.
But 2016 was a year of multiple transformations, after summer, while I was starting to endure the crucible in my professional life, my family was about to make the leap on their personal transformation, landing in Dublin to start our new life. Unfortunately it did not work as we had initially planned as my wife and my 6 year old daughter finally had to go back to Spain and I stayed in Dublin with my 2 teenage daughters (13 & 15). So transformation has parallel dimensions, while I was enduring the crucible in my professional life dimension, my daughters, my wife and I were rising the challenge in our new personal life. It has been so rewarding to observe my daughters transformation process during this year, how they have adapted, how her English has improved and how our relationship has evolved. I felt particularly rewarded by our transformation adventure in
“Transformation can have multiple dimensions”
When I look back and I think of all of the things I have learned and done in Linkedin and in Dublin since I arrived it seems much more than a little bit more than a year. Transformation sounds very cool, but it is not always easy. My biggest learning out of years trying to have control of my life is that you need to know what you really want, what is your dream, that is what gives you the energy and the focus in your journey, and what allows you, when you look back, to be a happy person, with a sense you are making good use of your life. I have also learned that it is not possible to do it by yourself, there has been so many people that have given me the fuel needed in this transformation journey being my wife my main pillar. Many friends, family and colleagues in Linkedin, have been supporting all the way, and in particular my friend and manager
who has been AMAZING. He is a very humble person so I know he will hate me mentioning him in this post, and I love it 🙂
I am still on my journey to
of Sales Management and I can say that I am enjoying every minute of it.
Francisco de Sebastian
Sales Manager at LinkedIn
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