How Many Times Should You Try Before Success? (Infographic) – No 1 Top Tweet

Image Credit:  Anna Vital

Image Credit: Anna Vital

Have you heard that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to really become good at something?  Or that the first book by beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss was rejected 27 times by publishers before it finally achieved success?  Our number one top Tweet for 2013 was this infographic by Anna Vital that demonstrates how many times should you try before quitting in order to achieve success.  It’s much higher than you might think.

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Related:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

Top 10 Skills To Survive in the 21st Century (Infographic) – No 2 Top Tweet

Image Credit:  eLearning Infographics

Image Credit: eLearning Infographics

Our number two top Tweet for 2013 was this infographic by eLearning Infographics that demonstrates the type of skills needed to survive in the 21st century.

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Related:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

IBM Connect 2014 – Energizing Life’s Work

ibmconnect2014v2

Companies are changing the way they work today. The combination of social, collaborative and mobile technology infused with behavioral science and analytics is incredibly powerful – especially when it is delivered in the cloud.  IBM Connect 2014 will provide insights on how to apply these principles to your business.

dilbertAs an added bonus for Dilbert fans, Dilbert creator Scott Adams will be speaking at the event.

Register now

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Kevin Cavanaugh, Vice President of Engineering Smarter Workforce at IBM, shares his thoughts on why you should attend IBM Connect 2014

And if you aren’t able to be in Orlando, don’t let that stop you from joining in the conversation – learn more about how to get social

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Related:

–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

IBM Alumni: Jerry Holl Shares Lessons Learned from 3,634 Mile Bike Journey

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Jerry Holl, IBM Alum and adventure seeker

IBM Alum: Jerry Holl

IBM Tenure: 12 years

Jerry Holl is a sales professional with over 30 years of experience in business, including sales & sales management positions for IBM, Moore Corporation and Piper Jaffray, Inc. From his extensive cross-industry experience, he’s gained a wealth of information on businesses, business models and best practices. Jerry has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and an MBA – both from the University of Minnesota.

Jerry recently completed a 3,634 mile solo bicycle journey from Alaska to Mexico. Details of the journey and access to his daily blog written during the journey, a raw unedited stream of consciousness often written laying in a tent at night after a 100 mile day.

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When did you join IBM; how long were you an IBMer?

I joined IBM right out of graduate school and was with the business for just under 12 years. I had studied geological engineering in undergrad and then got my MBA. I did some work as an economic analyst for a large oil company, but quickly knew it wasn’t for me.

I wanted a career that would let me engage with people and the greater world.  I just knew a sales role best matched my personal characteristics.  So, I approached and was hired by IBM as they are the prominent ‘Harvard’ of sales organizations.  They also embody the values and practices that are important to me.  IBM products and services made a huge impact for the customers in the mid-size businesses where I sold, and were transformative to those businesses.  I liked the big ticket (for those customers) big impact aspect of selling into those businesses.

What were some of your roles and duties with the company and what did you find most satisfying?

I worked in field sales and marketing, first as as salesperson, then a marketing manager, and finally as a branch marketing executive serving as an IBM branch leader.  IBM was a great match for me. I was there during a high period of growth for mid-range systems …so I was able to deal with all aspects of customers’ business problems and opportunities across all industries. Due to the cross-industry selling, I was able learn about their business models in a high level and fundamental way. It was tremendously educational.

Every day in sales felt like a field-trip.  I needed to really understand their business and problems to find solutions that would work.  And I got to work very closely and collaboratively with customers to come to the right solutions. This took a certain kind of attitude and curiosity.  Customers can tell when you truly have their interests in mind. They will open up and want to do business with you when you are more concerned with solving their problems and capturing their opportunities as opposed to just making a sale.

I was successful in my roles and I attribute that to a combination of putting client first and holding high professionalism standards — doing things on the up and up.  It’s essential to follow through and do what you say you will do.  I also had a real personal hunger to succeed and a love of the job.

I credit IBM with providing my best foundational business experience.  In regards to my career, it was a time of my highest learning and highest growth.  Ultimately, I left IBM because I grew as much as I could in the local branch and was committed to staying in Minnesota.

Did you have any mentors? Are you still connected with your former IBM colleagues? 

IBM attracted very high quality individualsMany of them remain great friends today.  You couldn’t help but grow and develop strong business practices just being around those individuals.  As a sales manager, I was constantly mentoring my team.  My style was very hands-on: teaching, developing, getting in the trenches and getting involved in their deals where necessary.  Part of mentoring and training is to show people how to advance the ball, not just tell them.

I gained many insights specifically from a couple Branch Managers. When you have a great leader you learn through osmosis as you see how they professionally handle situations.  And, I also learned what not to do from less effective managers.

Being so large, IBM had a lot of important structure to maintain standards and control to make things work. But sometimes those structures were too cumbersome and weren’t right for certain customers.  That’s when you need to take some risks and push for change.  With so much structure, you have to be adaptable and break structure where appropriate to put the client first.

Conversely, in my roles outside of IBM, I experienced what it was like without structure.  It was often chaos. I took what I learned from IBM to create the mechanisms and practices that help improve productivity and quality, building structure for a bunch of cowboys.

You want “wild ducks,” but not adverse wild ducks; you want those who use strong judgement to bridge the gap between customer and your own business interests, creating a win-win for all parties.  There is never a need or reason to leave a wake of problems in any of your dealings.

What did you want to do after your IBM career? What are you doing today?

I continued to work in sales and sales leadership, then in financial services sales.  But after I paid off my house, my kids’ education, and all my major commitments. I needed new ‘explosive’ growth.

I wanted to do something off the wall, something completely different, something where I couldn’t help but grow.  As one friend called it to be big, hairy and audacious.  And I wanted it to be constructive, healthy, and to test the limits of my capabilities. I wanted it to be remote, solo, physically grueling, and drop-dead gorgeous scenery.  So, I decided to take a solo bike journey from Alaska to Mexico.

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Jerry in Oregon on his biking adventure.

I conceived of the trip and left in about a 3 week period.  Why wait; why over-plan?  I hadn’t specifically trained for this journey.  I didn’t even think that much about it.  I was just confident I could do it. And, if I wasn’t in biking shape, I’d have plenty of time to ride myself into shape!  My experience at IBM had given me confidence in my ability to deal with situations that came my way.  I used the same ability in this circumstance.

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Biking trip pit stop at Big Sur.

There was  risk, but it is what I wanted.  And, it would require me to persevere even when I might not want to.  I encountered challenging terrain, 20 bears, other wild animals, traffic, brutal headwinds and changing weather.  I also re-discovered that people are really-really good!  Everybody along the way who saw my exposure and effort went out of their way to try to help in some little way, whether it was giving a candy bar, filling a water bottle, or providing information and directions.

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Jerry on the San Fransisco Bridge on his bike adventure.

Prior to this journey, I had never ridden my bike for more than 25 miles.  And, had never ridden a loaded bike with all my gear.  I just had to dig in …and it was very rewarding.  Sometimes I ran short on resources, simple things like like food or water, but I always found a way; discomfort is not danger.

When I left on the trip, I was ‘mechanically disadvantaged.” I never took the time to learn the basic mechanics of my bike.  Embarrassingly, I didn’t even remember (from childhood) how to change a tire, patch a tube, and had no idea how to fix a broken chain.  I broke my bike chain in the middle of nowhere in Alaska and just by blind luck, a female biker rode up who had a manual.  She was a godsend as we both figured out how to reconnect my chain with a spare link and repair my bike.  I dislike mechanical repairs and figured that during the trip I would just have to figure out the ‘mechanical’ problems as they occurred.

To me, the mechanical issues were discrete problems with known ‘how-tos.’  Although I didn’t (and still don’t) have the mechanical skills that was not a reason to not go.  More interesting to me were the mental situations and decision points without discrete how-tos, such as how to read my mental condition, physical condition, strange encounters, road and traffic hazards, frontier bandits, and wild animals, which required constant situational decision-making.  In a funny way, all of my IBM experiences contributed greatly to dealing with these mental situations.  I couldn’t realistically prepare for most of them. I  just had to make judgements as I encountered them, but, I just felt confident and capable of figuring them out as I went.

I kept a daily blog about the trip, and have subsequently written a manuscript which I intend to eventually publish as a book.  Basically, I want to encourage people to not let their life just happen to them, but to take control and actively build your own path and future.  Although there was occasional real danger, mostly it was exhilarating joy with occasional blissful hardship and discomfort (which is not danger – know the difference).  Don’t be afraid and frozen with the prospect of failure, rather, turn it on its ear and look at the tremendous reward if/when you’re successful.  It’s intoxicating.

Most people have more skill than they think they do.  So, in addition to writing about my adventure, I’ve also written a sales training program. It’s a practical and pragmatic step by step approach on how to conduct complicated large ticket, long sell cycle sales based upon all the lessons I’ve learned in my professional career.  My unique training describes  the steps of the sales process and the ‘art’ of what the salesperson needs to perform in each step.   It organizes the methods for a salesperson to take their intrinsic baseline skills and trains them how to effectively advance the ball and make the sale.  All with the customer’s interests at heart.

The bottom line:  Don’t fear the unknown. Take your skills and run with them.  Don’t over-think and over-plan. Get in the game and adjust.  You’re better and more capable than you think you are and, if you never get on your bicycle you will never know if you can do it.

Do you have key advice for those still advancing their careers?

  1.  Find where your heart is.  There is money in every profession if you are the best …but you won’t be the best if you don’t love it.  Be honest with yourself.   Ask yourself if you can get excited about this?
  2. Get in the game. Go.  Don’t over think, over-plan, or worry about others being better. You will always need to get better …and you will.
  3. Don’t think about specific jobs. Think about what skill-sets you’re developing in your role and how they apply to your passions and future – both personally and professionally.

I’m really passionate about sharing what I’ve learned with others. In addition to sharing my insights via the bog and my sales training, I’ve also started a business to help people who are looking to change careers.

I can help advise anyone who is contemplating or making a career change.  I have an advisory service to help individuals shine and differentiate themselves in an interview. I am also available to speak to groups about leadership lessons learned on my solo bicycle journey from Alaska to Mexico.

Finally, I have developed and delivered a very practical and pragmatic sales training program focusing on the interpersonal aspect of persuasion and influence in the sales process …in my view this is the toughest and most rewarding part of the sales process.

You can contact me if you have interest in any of my stories or work via LinkedIn.

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Related:

- By Jessica Benjamin, IBM Brand System and Workforce Enablement, CHQ

Work Burnout in A Virtual Team? Here’s How to Avoid It

(Image Credit:  B2C)

(Image Credit: B2C)

The workplace of today is ‘always connected’ and yet, strangely, often disconnected with the prevalence of technology and global virtual teams. With mobile devices keeping us plugged in anytime, anywhere, it’s easy to keep on working, and working, and working, until you lose all sense of balance and separation between work and personal life. The to-do lists and inbox never seems to get any shorter, and you may never get to know your team in person. Enter the age of Burnout Culture in the Virtual World. Where you are always just one click away from your never-ending projects, but you’re working on them in isolation. Here’s some quick tips on how to avoid work burnout in a virtual team:

(Image Credit:  Mother Nature Network)

(Image Credit: Mother Nature Network)

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Related:

- By Julie Yamamoto

#GreaterIBM Big Data Tweet Chat Preview: Is Data Science Your Next Career? on 12/4/13

BigDataCubeThinking about a career as a data scientist?  You may soon become one of the most sought-after people in the  industry.  Think about this – the data scientist career is projected to grow by 18.7 percent by 2020, and Big Data is expected to be a 53.4 billion industry by 2016 (Source, VentureBeat).

So what is a data scientist exactly and what kind of skills are needed to succeed in this career?

Chat Recap Here

Join the conversation as The Greater IBM Connection (#GreaterIBM) hosts a Tweet Chat on the topic of Data Science careers on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 from 12pm-1pm ET.  (Alternate link to join if Twubs is down = http://tweetchat.com/room/GreaterIBM)

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Panelists

Our panelists for the Tweet Chat will be Jim Kobielus and Tom Deutsch

Jim Kobielus, IBM Photo Credit:  Data Informed

Jim Kobielus, IBM Senior Program Director, Product Marketing, Big Data Analytics (Photo Credit: Data Informed)

James Kobielus (@jameskobielus) is an industry veteran and serves as IBM’s big data evangelist. He spearheads IBM’s thought leadership activities in Big Data, Hadoop, enterprise data warehousing, advanced analytics, business intelligence, data management, and next best action technologies. He works with IBM’s product management and marketing teams in Big Data. He has spoken at such leading industry events as Hadoop Summit, Strata, and Forrester Business Process Forum. He has published several business technology books and is a very popular provider of original commentary on blogs and many social media.  Prior to joining IBM in 2012, Jim worked as a Senior Analyst on Big Data at Forrester Research and an editor at Network World.  To learn more about Jim, see the links below:

Tom Deutsch, IBM Program Director - Big Data and Advanced Analytics

Tom Deutsch, IBM Program Director – Big Data and Advanced Analytics

Tom Deutsch (@thomasdeutsch), IBM Program Director in Big Data & Analytics, has more than 20 years in the industry.  As a veteran of two startups, Deutsch is an expert on the technical, strategic and business information management issues facing the Enterprise today.  Most of Tom’s work has been on emerging technologies and business challenges, and he brings a strong focus on the cross-functional work required to have early stage project succeed.  He played a formative role in the transition of Hadoop-based technology from IBM Research to IBM Software Group, and he continues to be involved with IBM Research Big Data activities and transition from Research to commercial products. Tom created the IBM BigInsights Hadoop based product, and then has spent several years helping customers with Apache Hadoop, BigInsights and Streams technologies identifying architecture fit, developing business strategies and managing early stage projects across more than 200 customer engagements. Tom has co-authored a Big Data book (Harness the Power of Big Data) and multiple thought papers.  To learn more about Tom, see the links below:

So, please join the #GreaterIBM Tweet Chat on 12/4/13 from 12pm – 1pm ET as we discuss “Is Data Science Your Next Career?”. You can join at twubs.com/GreaterIBM

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IS DATA SCIENCE YOUR NEXT CAREER questions:

  • Q1: Why is the data science field growing so much?
  • Q2: How would you define ‘data scientist’ as a profession?
  • Q3: What are the hottest specialties for data scientists?
  • Q4: What type of skills, education, and aptitude are needed to become a data scientist?
  • Q5: What are the chief pitfalls to avoid in building a career as a data scientist?

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#GreaterIBM Tweet Chat

Date: Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Time: 12pm – 1pm US ET
Join the Tweet Chat: twubs.com/GreaterIBM
Hashtags to follow & engage in the conversation in real-time: #GreaterIBM

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About #GreaterIBM

The Greater IBM Connection is IBM’s global business and professional network that brings together current and former IBMers around the world. As the evolving technology industry increasingly calls for relationship led sales, marketing, branding, and recruiting, The Greater IBM Connection provides a tremendous opportunity to stay connected and engaged with market influencers. We hope you join and contribute today!

Related Big Data Tweet Chats

You can continue to follow Big Data discussions via the following Tweet Chats:

IBM Blu Every other Wed 1-2pm Big Data #ibmblu
CXO Mon 12-1pm Big Data Customer Experience Optimization #CXO

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Additional Resources:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager The Greater IBM Connection

3 Ways to Beat the Monday Morning Blues

Image Credit:  Sudarshan Srinivasan, Chakraascope

Image Credit: Sudarshan Srinivasan, Chakraascope

blue Monday (noun) – a Monday regarded as a depressing workday in contrast to the pleasant relaxation of the weekend (dictionary.com)

Do you ever experience the Monday morning blues? While the prevailing definition seems to be about the contrast of the first workday of the week (Monday) versus the relaxation experienced over the weekend, the Monday morning blues can also be about other things as well, such as facing a long ‘to-do’ list for the week and feeling overwhelmed or simply feeling tired. Here are 3 ways you can beat the Monday morning blues and ensure that you have a good jump-start on your work week:

1 – Get a good night’s rest on the weekends too

It’s easy to get off-kilter over the weekend just because you can. Stay up late watching movies and then sleeping in late or taking naps in the afternoon over the weekend is a sure-fire way to get out of sync for the workweek. Sticking to the same schedule, regardless of the day of the week, will help you feel more rested and energized throughout the week. Plus, the bonus is, if you get up early on the weekends too, you’ll have more weekend time to get things done or enjoy your time!

2 – Spend ‘quiet time’ every morning

Before you jump right into work and your long ‘to-do’ list, why not spend a few minutes of quiet time first? Grab a cup of coffee and sit out on your front porch, or wherever your best ‘quiet time’ place is. Before you read the newspaper, before you go to the gym, before you do anything really. Just a few minutes of quiet time to center yourself and collect your thoughts before you start the day. Call it ‘quiet time’ discipline, and use it however you like – to meditate, journal, or simply listen to the birds greet the morning. In our fast-paced lives, where 80% of the world’s data was created in the last two years, and people are acquiring cellphones at a pace 5 times faster than the growth of the human race, when do we take the time to stop and smell the roses? It’s important.

3 – Prioritize your ‘to-do’ list

One thing about Monday mornings is that you are facing a whole week’s worth of a ‘to-do’ list, or things that you really feel like you need to accomplish. Even if you haven’t written it down, you generally have an idea of what you think you need to accomplish this week, and it can be overwhelming.  Also, since your list might be really long, your Monday Morning Blues may also be taking into account that you won’t really have any breaks that week as you try to slug your way through that long list.  So take a few minutes to prioritize that list and lay out the most important goals you need to accomplish for the week.  That way, you will not only feel energized by the direction you’ve layed out for the week, but you will also feel great as you check off each item on the list.  Plus, as a bonus, since you are clear about accomplishing your major goals for the week, you will feel much better about taking small breaks throughout the week also, which will help to re-energize your thinking and creativity as well.

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Related:

- By Julie Yamamoto