Now, don’t let this headline mislead you – I am still the absolute LinkedIn advocate you know (and hopefully!) love. However, in my experience, not everyone adores this platform the way that I do. Let me tell you a story to explain.

A little while ago, I presented a session on the value of LinkedIn at a fantastic conference hosted by a trade body.

Thrilled – and more than a little honoured – I sang the praises of LinkedIn to a room packed with big businesses and lots of senior executives.

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Just under an hour had passed, and I was wrapping up my presentation in time for lunch. Now, to my delight, there was a man just two rows back from the front who’d be nodding, listening, and decidedly interested in my talk.

I was delighted, then – but not surprised – when he made a beeline for me when we wrapped up.

Very well dressed and softly spoke, he extended his hand and introduced himself, and kindly complimented me on the first half of my session.

He passed me his business card – and I saw that he was the CEO/owner of a massive business I knew of, but hadn’t yet worked with.

“Very interesting, Miles! LinkedIn is fascinating, isn’t?” the CEO remarked.

“Yes!” I enthused. “Used the right way it can really deliver fantastic results.”

In my head, I’m thinking: Wow! This is a dream conversation!

Little did I know it was all about to evaporate.

The CEO followed on.

“I have one question for you.”

“Of course. How may I help you?” I’m so excited, I’m just waiting for him to enquire about hiring LinkedIn Success Systems…

Then he drops this bombshell:

“How do I stop my employees using LinkedIn?”

Cold horror rushed through my veins.

“Can I shut it down, delete their profiles? Ban the platform? I find the whole platform a thorn in my side”

Speechless. Stunned silence reigned.

The CEO either thought from the look I was giving him that I was either thinking hard on what he just asked me, or I’d misheard him.

He felt the need to elaborate to fill the silence. I’m thinking: He’s serious? Yikes! He’s serious!

“My problem is, everyone wants to leave, or they are being poached on this platform by my competitors, so how do stop that? Ban the use of it?? Block it in some way? Fire people for being on it?”

Are you having me on? Surely you have to be joking.

He felt the need to elaborate a little more, a little frustration creeping into his voice.

“After lunch, can you cover how to stop employees using LinkedIn?” he asked.

My brain had nearly expired, but that one question fired up all my synapses and I responded:

“Absolutely not.”

I stood my ground.

This time, the CEO was looking stunned. He didn’t seem to be a fan of the word no! I elaborated further.

“I don’t know your business, or how it’s managed. It seems to me, though that if they want to leave, you should let them.”

I carried on.

“Why stop people who don’t want to be there? They’re going to underdeliver, and won’t give you their full support. Why on earth would you want to have people like that in your business?”

Then, I gently added:

“The problem you have is not LinkedIn. The work environment and culture need addressing instead.”

He looked at me, so I continued.

“If you want, I can share with you how LinkedIn can help you retain employees, attract talent and recognise achievement. It can help you create success both on a personal and company level.”

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He raised an eyebrow.

“In return, employees will gladly gift you their loyalty. They do the heavy lifting and build your brand, step up to being advocates and grow your business. Doesn’t that sound like a win-win?”

Even as I said it, I was congratulating myself on the quick recovery, the benefits focus, thinking “Nice one, Miles!”.

Reader, we both know that this was not the answer he was looking for. The reason? It dawned on me that the change needed to start with him.

“How does that sound? I can cover this after lunch?” I smiled, trying to encourage him.

Instead, he shook his head, turned around, and walked away. He didn’t go for lunch. I saw his private car pull up outside the lobby, and he hopped in.

However, I could feel the edges of his business card in my pocket. I smiled internally, and sent him my good wishes.

“I’ll see you again Mr CEO.” I said to myself. “Our paths have crossed for a reason.”

Like me, I hope you believe that an unhappy customer is a chance to create a client for life. The secret? Your Employer Brand. What on earth do I mean? Keep an eye out for part two. You won’t want to miss it.

 Miles Duncan – LinkedIn Success Systems and Start Run Fly  Large team LinkedIn training service – online and in-line programs, Creators of LinkedIn white label customised eLearning platforms (SaaS) for individuals & small teams

Please connect with me on LinkedIn

 Over the next few weeks we will be rebranding as b2b Success Systems (Dec 2021)