Small Change Leads to BIG CHANGE – IBM Corporate Service Corps in Emerging Markets

IBMGhanaSlideshowAfter another disappointing week of streaming news about bailouts and leadership decisions flashed in front of us that are painful symptoms of so much that MUST change, I was moved by the corresponding good news headline:

IBM Selects 200 New Global Leaders for the Corporate Service Corps to Tackle Socioeconomic Problems in Key Emerging Markets

The story reads: “Two hundred of IBM’s future leaders from nearly 40 countries will participate for international assignments to emerging markets in 2009 as part of the company’s Corporate Service Corps program, part of the Global Citizen’s Portfolio initiative announced by CEO Sam Palmisano.”

What made this good news so meaningful was the slideshow story told by Charlie Ung, 8-year IBMer from Canada about his four week experience traveling to Accra in Ghana, West Africa. It says more than any words I could write:

What I’ve always loved about IBM remains the same.
They do stuff. They inspire us to do it too. They are on it. Not perfect perhaps, but like everything else, in its cracks, new LIGHT emerges always moving to something higher. Sam Palmisano made sure of it when he put his fingerprint on the future with IBM’s commitment November 6, 2008 in a speech describing THE SMARTER PLANET.

The Greater IBM Connection?…
It felt good today to be reminded by the GOOD NEWS above. Another plus was finding out about it on Twitter from GIBMer Jasmin Tragas, IBM Australia (Wonderwebby) It is still another example of the goodness that comes from our Greater IBM Connections across the world. Jasmin reminded us all today in one of her tweets, “Give, give, give. Without take. Learn how Jasmin is setting the example in her own words and in a creative visual exhibitat the Women’s Gallery at the Global Dialogue Center — changing lives for women in the Philippines. Then you are invited to GIVE, GIVE, GIVE. Like Charlie Ung told us in his story from Ghana…

…Maybe that’s the key:
small change that leads to big change.”

Tell us what small changes you are leading. Spread the good news!


Dk010109-recollectionDebbe Kennedy
Contributing Author
Greater IBM Connection Blog
Founder, President & CEO
Global Dialogue Center and
Leadership Solutions Cos.
author, Putting Our Differences to Work
Video Book Review by futurist Joel A. Barker
IBMer 1970 – 1991 L.A.; Anchorage; Seattle; San Francisco

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4 thoughts on “Small Change Leads to BIG CHANGE – IBM Corporate Service Corps in Emerging Markets

  1. Wow, I know Charlie Ung, but hadn’t seen his video yet. What a phenomenal experience he has recounted. And I agree, Debbe, the last line about small change leading to big change is so powerful. I’m not sure if I told you or not, but I was accepted into the Corporate Service Corps — I’m heading to South Africa in June!

  2. David,
    Thanks for stopping by.
    I did see the news. It makes me very sad and I imagine there are many holding those feelings.
    It is a kind of sadness that was felt when all this first started years ago. Before it was over, thousands were caught in the layoffs for the first-time-ever as IBM reinvented itself. Our coffee shops were filled; morale was low. I remember one of my most admired mentors asking a compelling question at that time, “How do we ‘jump this curve’ and lead the way.” He reminded us that we had an opportunity to shape a new and different future. At that time, futurist Joel Barker shared a great thought that pushed me out of the coffee shop to take a big leap of faith — He said, “You can and should shape your own future. If you don’t someone else surely will.”
    For the individuals touched by this change at IBM…I am saddened, but that said, what I know for sure is that IBMers, past and present, are a special breed. I appreciate this perhaps more than ever since I’ve been out in the world in my own work/businesses and came full circle back to meet up with others at Greater IBM. With the talent we all hold — that something special — I have no doubt many IBMers will be out there in front, leading the way. Come with us!
    These are difficult times for all of us as we are shaken by all we’ve learned to rely on. May it become a series of OPEN DOORS that may be clouded at the moment that leads to a better future that will benefit everyone.
    Hold this thought!

  3. P.S. This is an afterthought that came from my “flashback”.
    Interestingly, just before I left IBM, we used one of Joel Barker’s films called, the POWER OF VISION. In it he had a segment filmed at Auschwitz telling about Viktor Frankl’s lessons learned about the qualities of those who survived the Holocaust. It helped many of us work our way through the changes at IBM and its implications on our own lives. A few years back, I included it in a Viktor Frankl exhibit we did with Mr. Barker’s permission. It is worth the watch at this time: (Scroll down when you get there. It is close to the top)
    One of the important messages in Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, stays with me today at this time turmoil and change we don’t yet understand. “Everything can be taken from a man but…the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”
    This wisdom changed many things in my life.

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