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The Secret Behind Pinterest’s $1.57 Billion Empire

Every CEO wants their company to be successful on their own terms. Whether they want to go down in history as the next Pinterest or simply raise enough money to build a school in Africa, smart, driven leaders are always looking for ways to up-level their organization, make a bigger impact, and increase their bottom line.

I had the privilege of hearing Ben Silbermann, Co-founder and CEO of Pinterest speak live last week, and I had a huge aha moment when he brought up employee engagement.

He shared that what he believes has made Pinterest so successful – a $1.57 billion enterprise – is hiring people who truly want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and are 100% on board with their company’s mission… rather than folks who are just looking to fill a role based on their interests and skills, earn a specific title, or hit a certain salary.

A lightbulb went off in my head when I realized that the secret to building a billion-dollar company is hiring people who are deeply connected and committed to your core mission.

The first step to getting yourself in alignment for growth and ensuring your current and prospective team members are completely on board is making sure you’ve clearly defined – or revisited and refined – your big-picture mission.It can be easy to get caught up in numbers and logistics, so it’s important to get back to your roots by clearly defining your driving force and revisiting it on a daily basis.

When you know exactly what you stand for you can easily identify talent who align with your mission and goals.

Write down your answers to the following questions. Even the most seasoned, established CEOs can always benefit from revisiting the reasons they built their company…

  • What’s your primary goal as a company?

  • How does your organization impact other people?

  • What would the world be missing out on if you weren’t in business?

  • Why do you wake up every morning and go to work?

  • What five words would you use to describe your company?

  • Based on your answers, write down a 2-5 sentence mission statement that you can post in your office and be reminded of daily.You can write it on a post-it or have it made into a beautiful piece of art and framed. It doesn’t matter, as long as you look at it every day and let the words sink in.

    Once you’ve clearly defined your mission statement, you’re ready to evaluate your current team and hire future talent based on your core values.Ask your current employees and future prospective hires to act as if they’re the CEO of the company, then ask them the same questions listed above and see how closely their answers align with yours.

    It’s like a quiz, and fantastically effective in evaluating drive and authenticity. It’s fun to compare candidates’ answers with yours and see who’s a true match.Even if someone is driven by larger forces than recognition and money – which is the case for most top talent – it’s possible their goals simply don’t match up with yours.There are so many respectable motivators, it’s like apples and oranges. Just because someone is smart and driven, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right fit for your company.

    Based on how each person responds to the five questions above, you’ll be able to quickly identify where you need to trim the fat on your current team, and who will truly add to your success moving forward. You’ll know who’s simply looking for a title or salary and gently let them go.This can be hard, so remember this: If someone’s core values don’t match up with the company’s, you’re not doing them any favors by keeping them on board.By letting them go, you give them the space and freedom to find a company they’re genuinely motivated to work for. Think of it as a gift to them, because it is. You’re giving them the push they need to seek more meaning in their work and grow their careers in a profound way.By staying true to your mission and using these guiding questions to create the strongest team possible you’ll exponentially increase your company’s impact and earnings … all while having fun with people who share the same values as you.

    What’s your company mission? What steps will you take this week to confirm your current employees are on board, and set the stage to hire talent who are seeking more than just a title, paycheck, and benefits?

    Share your thoughts with us – we love this subject and can’t wait to hear from you.

    Do you have a colleague who would benefit from Ben’s wisdom and these five questions? Send them this article!