Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘leadership

Live At IBM Pulse 2013: NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning On “Getting Back To Zero”

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NFL quarterback Peyton Manning explains to the IBM Pulse 2013 audience in Las Vegas the importance of effective decision making in football and in life.

NFL quarterback Peyton Manning explains to the IBM Pulse 2013 audience in Las Vegas the importance of effective decision making, in football and in life.

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.”

Written by turbotodd

March 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Something Special In The Air

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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.

Written by turbotodd

November 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm

IBM Board Elects Virginia Rometty As Chairman

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The IBM board of directors today elected Virginia M. Rometty chairman of the board, effective October 1, 2012.

Today, the IBM board of directors appointed Virginia M. Rometty chairman of the board, effective October 1, 2012. Rometty currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of IBM. Ms. Rometty was appointed to these positions effective January 1, 2012. Ms. Rometty began her career with IBM in 1981 in Detroit, Michigan. Since then she has held a series of leadership positions in IBM, most recently as Senior Vice President and Group Executive, IBM Sales, Marketing and Strategy. Ms. Rometty is a leader in diversity initiatives including IBM’s Women in Technology Council and the Women’s Leadership Council, and is one of the senior sponsors of the Women’s Executive Council. She is a frequent speaker at industry and business conferences, and has been named to Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for seven consecutive years, including most recently in 2011. Ms. Rometty serves on the Council on Foreign Relations; the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University; and the Board of Overseers and Board of Managers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University.

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.

Written by turbotodd

September 25, 2012 at 10:18 pm

IBM ImpactTV 2012 Instant Replay: IBM’s Steve Mills On Big Data Analytics, PureSystems, And The Continued Importance Of Transaction Processing

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At last week’s IBM Impact 2012 event at the Venetian in Las Vegas, my collaborator and fellow blogger Scott Laningham and I spent much of our week interviewing thought leaders from IBM, our Business Partners, our clients, and even our keynoters, and to help spread the word, we’ll be incorporating some of those interviews in our respective blogs over the next days and weeks.

First up, the big man himself, IBM senior vice president and group executive, Software and Systems, Steve Mills.

If you’ve been in or around the software or IT industry for any length of time, it’s very likely you’ve heard from Steve.  And, as you well know, Steve always delivers — to customers, and to audiences.

This time around, Steve reminded us about the importance of transaction processing, explained the economic drivers that led to the development of IBM’s new PureSystems line of technology, and debriefed us on two recent IBM Software acquisitions in the big data analytics realm.

Forbes Business Leadership Forum @ Impact 2012: Put The Customer At The Center Of Every Action

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Mike Rhodin explains to the IBM Forbes Business Leadership Forum at Impact 2012 Monday morning that the best companies moving forward will put the customer at the center of their every action.

After this morning’s keynote session, I went promptly over to the Forbes Business Leadership Forum to listen for a bit to Mike Perlis, Forbes president and CEO, and Mike Rhodin, IBM’s senior vice president for our Software Solutions group.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m a Forbes magazine subscriber — and apparently I’m hardly alone, even in this alleged age of digital media and publishing. In fact, Perlis took great pains to walk the gathered IBM Impact audience through the evolution of Forbes magazine and its transition into the digital era, as a kind of case study into how one unique traditional media publishing property didn’t succumb to the whims of history.

Perlis outlined some key objectives for Forbes, including keeping its print business on track as it built its digital business, and also by developing its brand extensions and becoming a great technology company.

These days, Forbes has some 100 freelancers, 100 staff editors and reporters, and over 300 posts per day on Forbes.com, the centerpiece of Forbes digital strategy.

But Forbes has also embraced the social media in a huge way, with an aggressive presence on all the major social media properties, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

As Perlis summarized, “it’s about the right mix of quality and quantity of information, driven by great technology.”

Perlis then handed the reins over to IBM senior vice president, Mike Rhodin, who leads our Software Solutions business.

Rhodin picked up the ball and reaffirmed that Forbes business journey was an evolution, and that we live in an “information age like none before, where the complexities are forcing us to take a new approach to technology.”

Rhodin noted that companies like Forbes that successfully navigate these uncharted waters must “deploy solutions that are intelligent, integrated by design, and built atop a tech infrastructure that is inherently more cognitive.”

Rhodin went on to cite some examples of the staggering amounts of data that must be dealt with: That there are 340 million Tweets now per day, that 80% of the new data growth are in images, videos and documents, that there are 5 million trading events occurring every second!

Such astronomical figures are creating some tough new challenges, not only for IT but for the mainstream of a business.  Forty-five percent of CFOs see a need to improve data integration and risk management, Rhodin explained, and 73 percent of CMOs see a need to invest in technology to manage new big data.

Business leaders aren’t just concerned with what product to buy, Rhodin explained, but are focused on garnering better business outcomes, how to improve the efficiency of their online marketing campaigns, how to improve cash flows…business problems needing business solutions enabled by technology.

Rhodin also explained that business leaders need to learn to think differently (a theme brought up time and again in Walter Isaacson’s keynote this morning) about analytics, explaining that a new pattern of automation is emerging that is being driven by the instrumentation of the world around us.

“We’re infusing intelligence into the fabric of the organization,” Rhodin continued, and that organizational leaders of the future will be distinguished by their “ability to make big and small, strategic and tactical, 360 degree-informed decisions.”

“This has become a 24/7 feedback loop where sellers and marketers constantly change roles,” Rhodin concluded, and those who put the consumer at the center of every action would be the new information age’s ultimate victors.

Walter Isaacson: The Stuff Of Great Innovators

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Former CNN head and noted biographer Walter Isaacson captured my attention from the moment he walked on the IBM Impact 2012 stage and announced his next book would be a history of the computer age.

Walter Isaacson takes the stage at IBM Impact 2012’s opening general session, where he explained to the Impact audience what he believes are common characteristics shared by some of our greatest innovators.

Then, Isaacson launched into an explanation of what attributes great innovators shared throughout history — Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs.

Though Isaacson’s keynote at times seemed like an uncoordinated symphony, the words of wisdom and insight, and keen observations into the lives of his subjects, made his talk both compelling and inspirational.

Isaacson paid homage in his opening comments to IBM’s 100-year history of innovation and contributions to the information age, but it was his most recent biographical subject, Steve Jobs, that he let serve as the channel behind  the magic of an unwavering and driven innovator.

“Don’t be afraid,” Isaacson said in describing Jobs at his persuasive best. “You can do it.”

Whatever it might be really depended on the situation and circumstance — once, it was Jobs convincing Steve Wozniak to write some game code in four days.  Another time, it was convincing Corning CEO Wendell Weeks that he could manufacture his “guerrilla glass — which, at that point, had never actually been manufactured — in time to support the first iPhones.

Jobs, of course, was an exemplar of the great American creation myth, but behind the mythology there were lots of life lessons learned, particularly in childhood, another universal Isaacson observed about his innovators.

“The most important thing is not making a great product,” Jobs explained to Isaacson in one of his nearly 40 interviews, “but rather a company that will continue to make great products.”

Jobs and Wozniak started their empire in their parents’ garage, and went on to change the world and, over the course of his life, Jobs’ changed multiple industries: personal computing, the music business, digital animation…the list goes on.

Childhood curiosities, Isaacson observed, shared by Franklin and Einstein.

That was another unique characteristic that they all shared: The curiousity and persistence to try and solve problems and look for new ways of thinking up until their last breaths.

Smart people are generally a dime a dozen, explained Isaacson, but the innovative people, the imaginative people — they’re the ones who change the world.

But they also shared an ability to quickly get to the heart of the problem, and to encourage others to find their way to simplicity.

Isaacson quotes Einstein this time, but he just as well could have once again been referring to Steve Jobs:

“Any damned fool can make something complicated…it takes a genius to make it simple.”

Perfect case in point, the “on/off” switch for the iPod, which was in one of the original early designs, but which Jobs pointed out was unnecessary when he reviewed a prototype with his designers.

“You don’t need an on/off switch,” he explained. “When you quit using the iPod it just powers down.”

And so it was.

Isaacson shared another revealing anecdote, this time about Benjamin Franklin’s participation in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and, later, the collaboration on the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.

The original Declaration read: “We hold these truths to be sacred,” but Franklin, sensitive to the divine implications of such a phrase, and sensitive to the need for church/state clarity, suggested a re-wording: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

And so it was.

Yet years later, benefiting both from experience and having developed a sense of humility along the way, Franklin was more accommodating and facilitated a critical discussion centering on the inequities of power between the big states and little states in the nascent U.S. Union.

His urging to compromise led to the genius that became the U.S. House and Senate, where one body was proportional to the population, and the other was equitable regardless of state size. When a lady later asked him what he had “given them,” Franklin explained “A Republic, madam…if you can keep it.”

Yet despite all of their incredible accomplishments and breakthrough innovations, each of these giant men were, in the end, just that, men, people, humans — filled with the same kind of self-doubts and wonderment at the universe as all the rest of us.

Isaacson reminded us when Jobs returned to the helm of Apple in 1997 that he green-lighted a new ad campaign from Chiat/Day that celebrated the spirt of the great innovators. The slogan went like this:

“People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

He was.  And he did.  Einstein was.  And he did.  Franklin was, and he did.

Each in their own unique way, but with underneath each a connecting thread of a drive towards perfection, an insatiable amount of unsated curiosity, and always looking for a way forward.

Isaacson closed his talk with a beautiful and reminiscent story of Jobs, who knew he was nearing his last days on earth.  He asked Jobs, with all his Zen Buddhism training, what he felt spiritually, and did he feel there was something larger in this world than the moments we spend on this spinning globe?

Jobs explained that he liked to think so, that our spirits live on, and all that accumulated spiritual wisdom somehow benefits us moving forward.

But then, after a pause, he explained that at other times, he felt that death is just like one of those on-off switches.

Like the ones he didn’t want included on the iPod.

BLOGGER’S NOTE: I had occasion to interview Walter Isaacson on the key themes behind his keynote just after he was finished speaking. Among other things, I questioned him about his early work in digital media at Time’s Pathfinder group in 1994-1995, the impact of the Internet on the global economy, his work with the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and his perspective on the renaissance New Orleans is currently enjoying.  Stay tuned to the Turbo blog for more on this far-ranging and compelling Q&A. 

Written by turbotodd

April 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm

IBM Continues Middleware Leadership (And Tiger’s Master’s Opening Round Tee Time)

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It’s Tuesday of Master’s week.  I caught a couple of the interviews from the media room today.  Tiger was looking very confident, but so were Phil and Rory.

I’m really digging Golf Central’s “Live from the Masters” coverage, and looking forward even more to seeing a new feature from AT&T U-Verse this year, whereby they will be following “featured” groups of golfers on individual dedicated channels.

Guess who I hope to follow?  Tiger, of course, who’s paired up with Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez (“The most interesting man in the world…!”) and Sang-Moon Bae, South Korea’s 25 year-old golfing wunderkind, 10:35 EST on Thursday.  Hmm, do I have any conference calls then??

Yesteday, some good news from Gartner.  They announced that based on their definition of middleware IBM has once again been named the overall marketshare leader in middleware software.

The rankings are based on total worldwide revenue for 2011 and mark the eleventh consecutive year of leadership for IBM.

According to the report, IBM was the leading software vendor with 32.1 percent market share, extending its lead to nearly double that of its closest competitor.

According to Gartner, IBM grew 12.4 percent in 2011, faster than the overall market. The worldwide application infrastructure and middleware software market grew 9.9 percent to $19.4 billion, according to Gartner.

Besides its overall lead, according to the Gartner report, IBM holds the number one market share position in key sub-markets growing faster then the overall IT market.

For example, the Business Process Management Suite (BPMS) segment grew at 11.2 percent in 2011, Gartner said. IBM was named the number one vendor in BPMS software with a 27.1 percent share; almost triple that of its closest competitor. BPMS software enables companies to develop and implement processes that help their businesses be more agile and grow.

Gartner reported that IBM continues to be number one in other growing and key areas including the Enterprise Service Bus Suites, Message Oriented Middleware Market, the Transaction Processing Monitor market and Integration Appliances.

Gartner also reported double digit growth by IBM for the Portal Products and User Interaction segment IBM’s continued market share leadership in middleware has been a key reason for the company’s strong growth.

Coming back to the Master’s, I’ll hope to add some more color before fleeing for the wilds of West Texas on Friday for my annual “gun camp” trip with some good friends.

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