Who Cares about Your Weaknesses? Play to Your Strengths

Don’t miss this great case study written by bestselling author Paul B. Brown in Forbes.com, on this key idea: working on your weaknesses is about the worst thing you can do.


(Image, forbes.com)

After all, writes Brown, “I think you should do everything in your power ONLY to do what you do best….You are far better off capitalizing on what you do best, instead of trying to offset your weakness.  Making a weakness less of a weakness is simply not as good at being the best you possibly can be at something.”

Have you ever been advised to work on your own weaknesses? How did it turn out?  Read the rest of this article, and let us know what you think in the Leave a Reply section below.



It’s All a Matter of Perspective: How to Turn ‘Weaknesses’ into Strengths, by Dave Kerpen

About the author:

Paul B. Brown

Paul B. Brown (image, Forbes.com)

I am a best-selling author, and an extremely proud Forbes alum. A former writer and editor at Business Week, Inc. and Financial World, in addition to my six years at Forbes, I’ve written, co-written and “ghosted” numerous best-sellers including Customers for Life (with Carl Sewell.) My latest book, which I co-author with Leonard A. Schlesinger and Charles F. Kiefer, is Just Start: Take Action; Embrace Uncertainty; Create the Future.

- Posted by Regan Kelly

Leaders: Here Are The Top 9 Things That Motivate Employees to Succeed

When you wake up in the morning, what fuels you to begin the day? Are you passionate about your work? The triggers that motivate people to achieve are unique for everyone; for some it’s money; for others, it’s wanting to make a difference, writes Glenn Llopis in Forbes.com.

Motivation has been studied for decades, and leaders often use motivational books and other tools to get employees to increase their performance or get them back on track. But if you’re a leader, it’s critical to get to know your employees, and to be specific about how you help each of them achieve their goals, desires and aspirations. To help one another and to accomplish that, you must identify those motivating factors. In this piece from Forbes.com, see the nine things that ultimately motivate employees to achieve.


Greater IBM, what do you think of these nine motivators? Please share your own story and perspectives by commenting.


-Posted by Regan Kelly

On Leadership: 8 Lessons from the Women in Strategy Summit

- by Jenna Goudreau in Forbes.com

Jenna Goudreau

Jenna Goudreau

Business author Jenna Goudreau recently spoke at The Innovation Enterprises’ 2013 Women in Strategy Summit, which brings together 75 high-level women in marketing and strategy, about the leadership secrets of the world’s most powerful women.

In this post, she explains 8 key leadership lessons, synthesized and updated from last year’s keynote, from the women who know what it takes to reach the top. Get the 8 leadership lessons.


Connect with Jenna on Twitter @Jenna_Goudreau, Facebook, and Google+


- Posted by Regan Kelly

Analytics: New Power Systems from IBM Challenge HP, Oracle and Dell For SMB Apps

- Forbes.com, Tom Groenfeldt

As Dell and HP struggle to figure out their businesses, IBM is moving into their territory with Power Systems starting at $5,947 at the low end of its newly launched Power line of computers. “With these new systems, IBM is forging an aggressive expanding of its Power and Storage Systems business into SMB and growth markets,” said Rod Atkins, senior vice president of IBM Systems and Technology Group.

“Big data and cloud systems that were once only affordable to large enterprises are now available to the masses.”

Colin Parris, VP, IBM Power Systems (photo, IBM Systems Magazine)

Colin Parris, VP, IBM Power Systems (photo, IBM Systems Magazine)

The systems have more power, greater stability and manageability because they’re are integrated from design through production, said Colin Parris, general manager, IBM Power Systems. Read the rest of the story.

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty #15 of 100 Women Who Run The World (Forbes)

Virginia Rometty, IBM President & CEO (Photo Credit:  Forbes)

Virginia Rometty, IBM President & CEO (Photo Credit: Forbes)

IBM President and CEO, Virginia Rometty, ranks #15 on Forbes list of 100 Most Powerful Women in the World, 2012.  For nine years,Forbes has ranked the 100 most powerful women in the world.  These include heads of state, CEOs, female entrepreneurs, celebrity role models, philanthropists, and news-makers around the globe.  The 2012 list features eight heads of state, 25 CEOs who control $984 billion in revenues, and 10 celebrities who are also noted philanthropists.  You might recognize some of the names on this list, such as Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, Queen Elizabeth II, Jennifer Lopez, Ellen Degeneres, to name a few.  Some you may not recognize but are just as important to this list such as Margaret Chan (Director-General World Health Organization), Sonia Ghandi (President Indian National Congress, India), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil President).  It’s Forbes annual snapshot of the women who are impacting the world the most.

Read the full story below:

You may want to also read the earlier post about Ginni sharing her leadership philosophy at the Most Powerful Women Summit here if you missed it.

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


The January 2013 theme for The Greater IBM Connection is ”leadership”, and The Greater IBM Connection will be sharing various tips, tools, and resources on this topic.

Why Warren Buffett Keeps Buying IBM

In this Forbes.com piece, read why Warren Buffett, who recently picked up $10 billion in IBM shares for his company Berkshire Hathaway, continues to buy stock in Big Blue. In fact, it’s so attractive to the multi billionaire tycoon, he’s made it the second most-bought stock in his portfolio.

Investors are taking notice. And they’re asking why. Get the answers you need, here.



10 Leadership Lessons From IBM Executive School

leadershiplessons(Forbes, March 2012) In 1955, Tom Watson Jr. gave Louis Mobley a blank check to create The IBM Executive School, and one of the first things he did was to hire a testing firm to identify the skills that make great leaders great.  The results were a bit astounding in that the only thing the great leaders seemed to have in common was that they had nothing in common.  What Mobley realized over time was that unlike supervisors and middle managers, what successful executives shared were not skills and knowledge but values and attitudes.   For example, great leaders thrive on ambiguity and blank sheets of paper and are secure and believe in themselves.  Here are the 10 Leadership Lessons that Mobley identified.

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


The January 2013 theme for The Greater IBM Connection is ”leadership”, and The Greater IBM Connection will be sharing various tips, tools, and resources on this topic.

Top Leadership Lessons from 2012

leadershipIt’s been quite a year for leadership lessons.  Any number of the major world events for 2012 could serve as a showcase for how to, or not to, be a great leader…..the London Olympics, Hurricane Sandy, Facebook IPO, Rover Curiosity lands on Mars.  Great leadership seems to grow from great vision, but basics like having a plan and respecting the competition are also key.  Here is a round-up of some of the top leadership lessons from 2012.


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

Brad Smith, Intuit CEO: ‘How to Be a Great Leader: Get Out of the Way’

by David K. Williams, Forbes


Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit–on leading
and managing as a perpetual entrepreneur

In honor of Entrepreneur Month, I’ve been writing here and at Harvard Business Review with my paired leadership partner Mary Michelle Scott, Fishbowl president, about launching and scaling a company in a high growth phase. We’ve been hitting some hot buttons, particularly in our Forbes article “The Case for Hiring ‘Under Qualified’ Employees,”  June 14. The responses have been phenomenal.

In that same vein, I’d like to continue discussing the entrepreneurial skills required to run a great company. We’re talking today with Brad Smith, president and CEO of Intuit, one of the world’s largest and most successful financial software companies. Intuit, of course, is maker of the QuickBooks accounting software we have fully-integrated with our Fishbowl Inventory software, that we offer to midsize companies as a complete business management solution through Fishbowl Enterprise (FBE) software, and that we use to run our own growth company as well.

Intuit is a public company with nearly  $4B in total revenue, currently, and a market cap of approximately $16.5B. Even more importantly (in my opinion), Intuit has been consistently ranked one of Fortune’s “Best 100 Companies to Work For” and one of Fortune’s “Most Admired Software Companies” over the past several years. Here’s what Brad says about the importance of entrepreneurialism from the helm of Intuit (which I’ll compare and contrast to the task of running a 100-person growth company such as our own).

David: What entrepreneurial traits of your own and of your company’s have most influenced your company’s path?

Brad: I’ve always valued and encouraged teamwork, and that collaborative spirit of “we” versus “I” is core to Intuit’s success. Innovation has been part of Intuit’s DNA for nearly 30 years. We pride ourselves on two core capabilities that differentiate us and allow us to deliver solutions that truly change people’s financial lives. The first is customer driven innovation, a mindset and methodology that helps us uncover important, unsolved problems. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We conduct nearly 10,000 hours of follow me homes a year where we observe customers where they live, work and do business – from home offices and coffee shops to rural farms in India. Customer driven innovation was at the core of Intuit’s first product, Quicken, and it continues to guide us as we look to solve new problems in areas like mobile payments. Products like Intuit GoPayment and the IntuitPayment Network are helping small businesses get paid faster, keeping cash flow strong and their business healthy.

The second process, Design for Delight, enables us to create better ways to deliver what’s most important for customers.  Design for Delight is grounded in deep customer empathy, going broad with ideas then narrowing with possible solutions and finally, rapid experimentation with customers. These principles were integral in a product we recently launched called Snap Payroll, a free, mobile application that allows small businesses on the go to calculate paychecks in minutes and determine how much to set aside for taxes.

Collaboration, customer driven innovation and Design for Delight, allow us to continually reinvent ourselves to deliver for the future and provide our customers anytime, anywhere access.

David: How does being an entrepreneur at the helm of a very large enterprise differ from entrepreneurial leadership of a small startup or growth company?

Brad: Regardless of whether you are leading a large enterprise or a small team, you need to remove barriers to innovation and get out of the way. At Intuit, we operate like a company of startups. We create and foster a culture where our nearly 8,000 employees worldwide have the courage to take risks and grow by learning from success and failure. Idea Jams and unstructured time give passionate employees opportunities to collaborate on new ideas to solve customer problems. To keep ideas moving and teams nimble, we embrace the “Two-Pizza rule,” making sure product development teams are no larger than two pizzas can feed.

At the end of the day, it’s about empowering individuals to contribute ideas and make an impact, as well as setting goals that challenge employees to step outside their comfort zone. We realize the importance of recognizing employees for their innovative work. Recognition comes in the form of Intuit co-founder Scott Cook’s annual Innovation Awards, patent rewards and the opportunity for employees to showcase their work at Innovation Gallery Walks held throughout the year. The best reward for employees is seeing the profound impact of their work on the lives of our more than 50 million customers.

David: It’s interesting that at a much smaller scale, the approaches you are taking are what we’ve been trying to accomplish at Fishbowl as well. As each new hire begins, as with all employees, we expect them to assume the role of their own business within our business. I call it “Me, Inc.” That perspective accelerates everything they do –from the questions they ask to the programs they propose. The creativity goes through the roof. They are in a position to be creative, to be more efficient, and to find ways to increase revenue and reduce the bottom line. We have no managers; we have leaders who are resources and examples of what we espouse. While I have an open door, I expect individuals to come to me or any leader with several proposed answers to the questions they have. Nine out of ten times, they have the answer and my role is to support them.

We train them not to come and ask me to answer the question, or what I think they should to do. Our “Me, Inc.” approach flavors their experience from the very beginning – and quite frankly, without this approach, our company wouldn’t be where it is today.

It’s very heartening to hear those same messages resonate within a company as large and as successful as Intuit.

So—in conclusion—I would say that a company is never too large or too successful to continue to behave and think 100% as an entrepreneur. Innovation is as critical as ever. It’s safe to say that making a company a great place to work is essential for a successful global company, too. Thank you, Brad, for sharing your insights with us!

Additional reporting provided by Mary Michelle Scott, Fishbowl president.