What can we learn from Ginni Rometty about leadership? I’m a huge fan of transformational leadership and have spent the past 30 years working with many great leaders around the world. Over the past several years, I’ve attended over twenty different global conferences to better understand what it takes to lead in a time of rapid change. Every year, I talk to hundreds of executives and entrepreneurs in my role as Executive Coach and Chief Technology Adviser for clients.
Today, I’m in Las Vegas at Think 2018 waiting to hear where IBM’s leadership is going take us over the next several years. I’m waiting to see Ginni Rometty share her vision of the future. She is one of the most influential CEOs on the planet. She will spend today sharing IBM’s mission, vision, and values to everyone who is attending this event both in the arena and around the world online.
She will bring in several interesting leaders to help her share where IBM sees the world going. For me, in a word, convergence. For many leaders, it’s a puzzle yet to be solved. For Ginni Rometti, it’s how all these capabilities will converge to create the next generation of great organizations.
Ginni Rometty points out it’s about serving her many different stakeholders’ future. It’s built on the IBM foundation of think first, then acting responsibly. Even when it impacts the organization’s bottom line. She has taken heat from some investors for leading IBM this way. I don’t expect this to change while she’s in charge.
I know Ginni Rometty will focus on the human side of the technology transformation. That’s her role as CEO. She has shared this conversation in the past, ”Clients say, “What’s your strategy?” and I say, “Ask me what I believe first.” That’s a far more enduring answer.”
Let me share what I’ve learned about Ginni Rometty’s leadership that has made IBM one of the most influential organizations on the planet. I’ll will be only writing one blog this week, so it will be a little longer than normal. I think its worth the read if you’re interested in understanding how IBM’s leadership is changing. Next week, I’ll share more about technologies once I’ve had a chance to process what I’ve learned during this whirlwind week.
The first capability Ginni Rometty has reinvigorated in IBM is a high performance team based culture. Teaching an elephant to dance might be simple compared to what she has done with IBM. Over the past several years she has aggressively put people in charge of the different organizations who could be the CEOs of any other organization and be successful. This has provided IBM with a deep succession pool as their business expands and evolves. It has also provided their younger team members an opportunity to grow more quickly in their roles.
Each of these executives has created their own leadership teams to accelerate the organization’s executive development efforts. And it’s working. The people I talk with are engaged and energized by collaborating and competing with other organizations inside IBM. They’re coming out of several challenging years ready to become a market leading team.
Many times, larger technology organizations struggle to keep and promote their best people. From what I’ve seen at IBM, they are providing their Millennials and GenX leaders with a new set of updated and improved leadership capabilities for the new interconnected economy.
The next generation of leaders are very capable in executing IBM’s strategy for growth and market development. These individuals not only master advanced analytics and a data science to make better decisions faster, they also have the communication and influence skills.
The second capability Ginni Rometty has envisioned for IBM is a more inclusive ecosystem. This includes strategic alliances, IBM Partners and new startups that can provide the ecosystem with new products and service offerings on a regular basis. Even the smaller organizations I talk with feel engaged and connected to IBM.
This hasn’t always been the case, today many of the new technologies require significant specialized knowledge to provide their customers an edge through technology deployment. These entrepreneurs are helping IBM build a foothold in many mid-market and family led organizations that IBM has struggled with in the past.
IBM’s approach to create hybrid solutions can accelerate adoption for their many global customers. Creating market driven solutions in Supply Chain, Blockchain, RegTech, and The Industrial Internet of Things could pay huge dividends for the organization long term.
The third quality Ginni Rometty has brought to IBM is a recommitment to developing and educating the next generation of leaders inside and outside IBM. IBMs has taken many of their own HR best practices and technology to their clients. This includes training and development of high potential Millennial and GenX managers.
The battle for the next generation of corporate leadership is starting to accelerate. IBM is planning to use advanced predictive analytics and Watson to help provide their client a competitive advantage in talent development and career management in their markets.
IBM is working closely with clients to help create accelerated learning cultures in many different traditional and corporate universities to help meet the need for more knowledge workers in data science, the Internet of Things, and logistics and supply chain, to name just a few. Ginni Rometty is working with education leaders to help create the world’s future workforce!
The unique capabilities and strengths of these future leaders is being studied and analyzed using advanced analytics and machine learning. Ginni Rometty is a huge supporter of educating a new global work force leveraging cloud technologies. The cloud can change how education is delivered around the world. In developing countries citizens can have the education they want in a convenient delivery system.
With the impending boomer retirement hard trend, IBM is providing new workforce solutions in healthcare, manufacturing, and financial service industries. These programs are using technology and people to transform the journey to organizational leadership.
Finally. Ginni Rometty is committed to building a more inclusive workforce. One of my favorite quotes by her is “Today when I think about diversity, I actually think about the word “inclusion.” It’s not men, it’s not women alone. Whether it’s geographic, it’s approach, it’s your style, it’s your way of learning, the way you want to contribute, it’s your age- it is really broad.”
Ginni Rometty has said “You have to stick up for what you believe in. And that, to me, is the biggest thing you can do about driving inclusion. “ I can’t say it any better, so I won’t even try.
What do you believe in? Are you willing to stand out from the crowd to make a difference in the world?
NOt signed up but would like to learn more. You can attend IBM Think virtually by going here!
Stick around. I think you’ll want to be here. See you next week.