The Promotion Challenge: How to Re-Engineer Your Relationships for Success

boss cup

Want to see these? Then you’ve got some work to do.

If the new year or other recent changes have meant a new, leadership role for you, then realize this: all of your work relationships must change. The way you interact with others in the system – your former peers, new peers, your own boss – will be different from now on.

Michael Watkins in the Harvard Business Review writes that the work itself is not a problem: all of your former peers, after all, are professionals who know how to get things done. The problems can lie in the new relationships between you and others, and that’s why stepping up into a new role can be fraught with challenges.

“Because you think you know everyone and everyone thinks they know you, it’s easy to miss the fact that all your existing work relationships were shaped, in part, by the role that you previously played. The corollary is that now that you have taken a new role, those relationships must change: relationship re-engineering is therefore at the heart of meeting the promotion challenge.”

What should new leaders do to make a successful transition? Making the shift from Peer to Boss.

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Have you had to make this transition in your career? Share your tips for success with your fellow Greater IBMers in the Comments – we’d love to hear them.

Improve Your Leadership Skills: 3 Ways Leaders Forge Real Connections

It’s confirmed: leadership has everything to do with how you relate to others. The quality of your relationships MATTERS, writes Scott Edinger in Harvard Business Review.

Scott Edinger

Author Scott Edinger

And in fact, the higher you go in an organization, the less important your technical skills become. And the more critical it is to have stellar interpersonal skills.

The ability to make an emotional connection is often misunderstood, but it’s not about being emotional or showing emotion, it’s about making a human connection. Three things you can do to forge these kinds of bonds.

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About the author:

Scott Edinger is the founder of Edinger Consulting Group and coauthor of the October 2011 HBR article, “Making Yourself Indispensable.” Connect with Scott at Twitter.com/ScottKEdinger.

Watson Leadership Lesson 4: Unleashing Potential Through Education

IBM Schoolhouse, Endicott NY, 1930s

IBM Schoolhouse, Endicott NY, 1930s

IBM’s legendary President Thomas J. Watson, Sr., was a leader of unbridled optimism. “This business of ours has a future,” he noted in 1926, just 12 years after he joined IBM. “It has a past that we are all proud of, but it has a future that will extend beyond my lifetime and beyond your lifetime.”

Much of that optimism was based on his faith in the knowledge, abilities, and character of IBM employees. “Very few persons throughout the country have seen our factory, our School, our Laboratory, or our World Headquarters Building, and the only way they have to judge the character of IBM is by the character of those who represent us.” But he recognized that IBMers were not born – they were made. To that end, he believed that one of his chief responsibilities as IBM’s leader was to unleash the collective potential of his workforce. One of the ways he did that was by placing great emphasis on employee development.

Watson was fond of saying, “There is no saturation point in education,” and he backed those words by building an educational infrastructure that was second to none. IBM’s tradition of investing in employee development dates to 1916 with the creation of the IBM Education Program. Over the next two decades the program would expand to include management education, volunteer study clubs, training for the disabled, and the construction of an IBM Schoolhouse in Endicott, New York in 1933. So deeply ingrained in IBM culture was the notion of personal development, that starting in the 1920s, IBMers began forming after-hour study clubs to increase their knowledge of their professions and the company’s business.

Watson’s emphasis on employee education was not the benevolence of a paternalistic leader – he saw clear business value in this investment in his workforce. “When a man stops studying, stops acquiring knowledge about the business or profession in which he is engaged, he doesn’t stand still,” Watson said. “He starts going backwards.” And backsliding was something every IBMer had to avoid … even Watson himself. “I found out years ago that because I gave so much of my time to my own business I was getting into a rut. So I decided to get out and see what other people were doing, to broaden my mind on business in general and see what I could bring back and apply to my own business.”

IBMers took Watson’s edicts to heart. Between 1938 and 1952, 40% of Endicott employees were enrolled in classes, covering 33 subjects. By 1954, IBM Education worldwide was running more than 50,000 students (internal and external) through its programs. In 1961 alone, 17,000 employees participated in voluntary study courses.

“In this day and age, education is the one Master Key we can depend on to open the door to future progress, “ Watson said in 1930. “The future of the International Business Machines Corporation, and of every person connected with the Company, depends not upon the amount of time we spend in study; but upon what we learn and upon our ability to transfer our knowledge to newcomers in the business so that they may keep step with the pace of IBM—a pace which is constantly increasing!” In the 80 years since, little has changed.

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Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist

Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist

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

Leadership Lessons from Watson: 3

TJ Watson Quotes2

“Our work is one of service.”

Thomas J. Watson, Sr

Read more about what IBM is doing worldwide to help improve the communities where IBMers live and work – IBM Citizenship Worldwide.

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

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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.

IBM Senior Executives Share Perspectives on Leadership

Randy MacDonald, IBM Senior Vice President of Human Resources

Randy MacDonald, IBM Senior Vice President of Human Resources

As featured in IBM’s Global Careers newsletter, two IBM senior executives share their perspectives on leadership.  Randy MacDonald, IBM Senior Vice President of Human Resources, shared with Fortune magazine what it takes to be a leader at IBM, which includes the importance of business acumen, collaborative skills, and aspiration to create new things.  He includes emotional and intellectual stamina as being important leadership characteristics since being a business leader in the world today is 24/7.

Diane Gherson, IBM Vice President of Talent

Diane Gherson, IBM Vice President of Talent

In an article published by Chief Learning Officer Magazine on leadership development, Diane Gherson, IBM Vice President of Talent, weighed in with perspectives about IBM’s effort to create leaders who can lead with transparency.  That is, think outside their comfort zones, embrace diverse opinions, tap into capabilities from around the globe, and collaborate to get things done.  In today’s ambiguous business environment, it’s critical for leaders to be willing to try new things and help their teams do that too.

Read the full stories below:

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

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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.

Leadership: Key Mistakes to Avoid

If you’ve recently been promoted, congratulations. It’s an honor to receive a promotion that puts you in a leadership role.

Author Lindsay Olson

Author Lindsay Olson, oncareers.com

But be warned: You now carry a great deal of responsibility that could be taken away from you just as easily if you fail to live up to expectations. Not to set off alarm bells, but of those who have been promoted, a full 40 percent will fail within their first 18 months on the job.

Most of the failure stems from a few key leadership mistakes that The Forum Corp.’s President and CEO Andrew Graham outlines here.

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Got a tip to add? Share it with your fellow Greater IBM community members in the Comments.

Watson Leadership Lesson 2 – Unbounded Helpfulness

Thomas J. Watson, Sr., IBM President, 1928

Thomas J. Watson, Sr., IBM President, 1928

IBM’s legendary leader Thomas J. Watson, Sr. has long been recognized as one of the world’s great businessmen. As IBM’s president from 1914 to 1952, one of his critical leadership objectives centered on creating a culture of collaboration. In a 1928 speech to employees, he said “I know it is not necessary for me even to suggest cooperation to you, because you know enough about this business to realize that the cooperation that exists throughout our organization is one of the things that have made it the institution it is today.”

For Watson, empowering the individual was key to creating a culture of collaboration. Rather than foster a directive, authoritarian managerial ethos at IBM, one that could restrict individual development, he created a culture of unbounded helpfulness that would free each and every employee to better reach their potential. ““A man, to be a success over other men, must always consider himself not as their boss but as their assistant. … We have no bosses; we do not need them. We could not get along unless we helped each other.”

This assistant ethos to Watson was a two-way street, with benefits for both the helper and the helpee. “Do not be afraid to help the man alongside of you. The best way to grow is to help somebody else grow, because you learn something when you do.” To drive the point home, he once took the unusual step of sending IBM’s sales managers into field to provide hands on assistance to the salesmen in their charge. While these managers were out of the office, Watson had their secretaries to fill in as ‘acting sales executives’. He advised these secretaries to keep their letters short, eliminate red tape, and use this development opportunity as a springboard to better jobs.

Watson very much included himself as one of those assistants. “Whenever you meet me, I want you to come up and talk to me about anything that is on your mind, and that goes for all the executives in the business,” he once said. “The best way for you to learn more about this business is to talk to people who have been in it longer than you.”

The principle of collaboration was one he strove to implement across the entire organization – not just vertically between workers, foremen, and upper levels of management, but horizontally between business units and geographies too. It was a cultural characteristic, he felt, that was one of the things that made IBM great. “All the success of the IBM is not due to me nor to any other man or small group of men,” he said. “It is due rather, to the fine support, cooperation, brain power, and ability in every department of this business.”

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Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist

Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist

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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.

Leadership Lessons from Watson: 1

TJ Watson Quotes1

“Develop your own initiative.  Do something no one else has done.”

Thomas J. Watson, Sr

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

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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.

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

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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.

Have You Heard of Coursera.Com? Top Universities Offering Online Classes for Free

coursera2Have you heard of Coursera.org?  They have partnered with 33 leading universities around the world, including Duke, Vanderbilt, Stanford, University of London, to name a few, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.  Their vision is to provide everyone in the world with a world-class education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.  Here are some of the upcoming classes that Greater IBMers may be interested in:

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

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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.