Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category
Peyton Manning has earned his way into NFL history, playing for the Indianapolis Colts for 14 seasons before making his way west to the Denver Broncos, where he had to learn a completely new playbook and offense.
The backstory: After undergoing extensive neck surgery in May 2011, he was forced to miss the entire 2011 season with the Colts and was released in March 2012, at which point he visited with and worked out with several NFL teams during a two-week period before settling on the Broncos.
Along the way, Manning developed his own personal playbook for cultivating leadership and effective decision making, the points of which he shared in the IBM Pulse 2013 day three general session.
The four-time MVP quarterback hit the stage running, explaining he’d just returned from a USO tour overseas where he’d been visiting the troops. He began by explaining that he “hope what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, because I don’t need the Ravens and Patriots to hear some of what I’m telling you today.”
Manning then segued into his key theme, the art and science of decision making and “how quality decision making leads to resilience.”
Manning explained to the gathered Pulse audience that “people make decisions every day,” but that there are those who “make good decisions habitually,” and acknowledging that “it’s easier to practice a skill when the heat is off and when there’s nothing important on the line.”
But unlike most people, Manning explained, “my decision making is instantly judged by 80,000 fans in the stadium and millions on Twitter” — and that he wouldn’t have it any other way.
In fact, Manning explained, “I savor being on the front line,” and that “you can’t wait for someone else to make or execute the plan — you have to be willing to take the risk, even when you have doubts.”
“If not you,” Manning queried, “ then who?”
The key, he went on to explain, is that you make key decisions without hestitation and no stutters, because “when you demonstrate 100% confidence, your team will follow.”
Manning acknowledged that he’s become known for “making audibles,” calling plays ad hoc once his team is lined up in reaction to “something I’ve noticed on the field.”
Manning claimed that his teammates have to trust those instant, snap decisions, and “that if they hear it in my voice that I believe in my decision, that they’ll believe in it, too. They’ll run better and they’ll block better.”
But to get to that level of confidence, Manning explained, it requires an enormous amount of preparation. Days of practice, of watching and analyzing game and practice film on his iPad, talking with his teammates.
“Usually there is no one right answer,” Manning conveyed, “but you can’t build decisions on hope. You need a strong and more stable foundation, and thorough preparation is absolutely essential.”
Every week, Manning said, “I gather every piece of relevant information about my opponent, and I study every tendency a defense has. I know exactly what coverage to expect and how to counter it.”
But once on the field, he simply “blots out both the spotlight and the noise and then just decides. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. I can eliminate options before the ball is even snapped. That allows me to take more calculated risks more confidently.”
Because at the end of the day…or perhaps more appropriately, at the end of the fourth quarter, “If you’re the boss or the quarterback, that’s what you’re paid to do.”
And even with all that preparation, Manning acknowledged, “it’s important to recognize that you can thoroughly prepare and still be hit by a thunderbolt.”
“Some decisions in life,” Manning explained “just aren’t yours to make.”
Manning explained his own decision making philosophy as “getting back to zero.”
“We have seconds to pick ourselves up off the field after we’ve been hit and immediately focus on what’s ahead. You can’t dwell on what just happened, because if you do, your head just won’t be in the game.”
Manning then channeled that great American writer, Ernest Hemingway: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.”
After his injuries in 2011, Manning related that “I’ve learned to savior what resilience can do for people.” His first pass after his rehabilitation “went literally about ten feet,” and he explained “it’s hard for most people to understand the magnitude of changes and the elasticity needed” after such an ordeal.
He had to take his rehab slowly, that the healing had to “happen at its own pace. And no matter how painful it was, I had to accept that.”
Once he arrived in Denver, he explained, he also had “to get my team to trust that I could lead the Broncos. I was now one of them and I was going to put the work into making us a winner.”
Despite taking a brutal hit during a preseason game that year, he bounced up for more. “Resilience was the reward for more meticulous preparation and strategic decision making.”
There’s really nothing like the joys and vagaries of business travel.
Yes, I’m back in Las Vegas, this time for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association Summit, but it was quite the chore getting here.
Never mind that my lowest offer air fair required that I leave at 7:20 AM on a Sunday… That I could deal with.
But as our airplane in Austin was taxiing towards the runway for takeoff, it became quite evident a disgruntled traveler was not a happy camper, and poised to potentially cause quite a bit of trouble during the flight. He was being very rude to the flight attendants, and was allegedly pontificating about terrorism to his fellow passengers (he was seated a number of rows ahead of me, so I couldn’t quite make out the details).
Thankfully, the American Airline’s staff was on top of the situation, and they weren’t about to take off with this guy and his pontifications, who was refusing to follow simple and reasonable directives from the flight staff (like not getting out of his seat to go to the restroom on an active taxi-way).
So, AA promptly taxied the plane back down the active runway, where the gentleman causing the ruckus was met by some of Austin’s finest security officials and very politely escorted off the plane.
Then, the Captain came on to explain the situation: “Ladies and gentlemen, at American Airlines we strive to be attentive to ALL our customer’s needs, and the customer who was just escorted off the plane had some very special needs we felt important that he get tended to. We’ll now be on our way to Los Angeles.”
I laughed out loud, as did a number of other passengers — in one quick moment, the captain reassured his very antsy set of passengers, explained the situation in just as much detail as was really needed, reassured us that the troublemaker’s baggage had been removed from the plane, and indicated we would be on our way shortly.
We could now take off with a clear conscience and no concerns.
So I want to say a big thank you to JoAnn, Queen, the Captain, the dead-heading AA pilot, and the rest of the crew of Flight 457 this past Saturday on the flight from Austin to Los Angeles (and on to Vegas).
Your professionalism and calm amidst that minor storm demonstrated to your passengers that you can only “Be yourself. Nonstop” when the planes are moving, and safely, and you made sure they did both on Saturday, and I just wanted to thank you for that.
The IBM board of directors today elected Virginia M. Rometty chairman of the board, effective October 1, 2012.
Mrs. Rometty succeeds Samuel J. Palmisano, who is stepping down from the board effective October 1, 2012.
Mr. Palmisano will become Senior Adviser to the company until he retires on December 1, 2012.
As of October 1, 2012, Mrs. Rometty’s title will be IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer. Mrs. Rometty, 55, is currently IBM’s president and chief executive officer.
She succeeded Mr. Palmisano as IBM’s ninth CEO in January of this year, after holding senior leadership positions in IBM’s services, sales, strategy and marketing units.
Mrs. Rometty led the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting — the largest acquisition in professional services history, building a team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts.
She became a director of IBM in January.
Mr. Palmisano, 61, became IBM chief executive officer in 2002 and chairman of the board in 2003.
During his tenure, IBM transformed its product and services portfolio, exiting commoditizing businesses, including PCs, printers and hard disk drives, and greatly increasing investments in analytics, cloud computing and other high-value businesses and technologies.
He has overseen the transformation of IBM from a multinational into a globally integrated enterprise. During Mr. Palmisano’s tenure as CEO, IBM created over $100 billion of total shareholder value.
Scott Laningham and I spoke to a number of IBM execs, partners, and subject matter experts at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit this week, one of whom has been a key driver for IBM’s events catering to business executives.
Maria Winans is a vice president with IBM Software’s Industry Solutions group, and spent countless hours leading a team that prepared for the Madrid Summit, among others.
Maria and her team are laser-focused on helping take IBM software solutions to market by industry, centering their energy on a number of key verticals, including the retail and banking industries, among others.
Maria discussed a number of important issues in our conversation, including the trend towards communicating more with the “line-of-business” customer set, and the requisite changes that that is driving in IBM’s go-to-market efforts.