5 Ways To Become An IBM Champion (Oct 15 Deadline)


GreaterIBMers, are you a technical expert or educator who actively blogs, speaks at conferences or events, or authors books or magazine articles?  Or do you know someone who does?  If so, we invite you to learn more about the IBM Champion program.

Nominations are open through October 15, 2013 –  we’d love to see Greater IBMers nominated for this program!

5 Ways To Become An IBM Champion

An IBM Champion is an IT professional, business leader, developer, or educator who makes exceptional contributions to the technical community and influences and mentors others to help them make best use of IBM software, solutions, and services. The IBM Champion program recognizes these innovative thought leaders and rewards these contributors by amplifying their voices and increasing their spheres of influence.  An IBM Champion is not an IBM employee. IBM Champions can live in any country.

Here are five ways YOU can become an IBM Champion:

1 – Evangelize and advocate for IBM
  • Speaks at conferences, user group meetings, IBM events
  • Uses social media channels to help spread the word about IBM solutions and increase positive sentiment towards IBM
  • Helps IBM share specific messages around launches and announcements
  • Work within their own company or their customers’ companies to encourage continued use of IBM technology
  • Help customers make the most of the IBM technology that is installed (use of expanded features, broader adoption, and more)
  • Explores ways to reach outside the current community sphere to reach new audiences.
  • Partners with IBM about how to become better evangelists
2 – Share knowledge and expertise
  • Participates in online forums, answering questions and sharing expertise
  • Shares expertise through instructional videos, podcasts, interviews, and other support/teaching sessions
  • Shares knowledge via white papers, Redbooks, wikis, and/or wiki articles
  • Provide feedback and suggestions on IBM certification exams
  • Provide feedback and suggestions on product usability and documentation
  • Participate in usability activities to improve IBM products
  • Helps IBM improve on products and solutions by actively participating in beta programs, usability studies and other types of research
  • Organizes or connects people in their network to find support for issues
3 – Help grow and nurture the community
  • Uses social media channels (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Connections, podcasting, and others) to drive awareness to community topics and events
  • Starts, leads and/or participates in local user group meetings and events
  • Participates in community webcasts and meetings
  • Helps mentor new community members and drive them to community sites
  • Guides community members so they know how to leverage information in the community (that is, help new people know where to go for help)
  • Participates in or leads activities to encourage sustained community activity and contributions
  • Implements new and innovative ways of growing the community
  • Communicates honestly, openly, professionally, and respectfully (for example, keeps private conversations private or complies with NDAs)
4 – Expand reach across the IBM portfolio
  • Finds ways to expand customer adoption of broad set of IBM capabilities
  • Integrates solutions across the IBM portfolio
  • Leverages IBM’s breadth of technologies to augment brand specific products
5 – Present feedback, both negative and positive, in a constructive and professional manner
  • Provides feedback in appropriate forums such as a design partner programs, or private discussions with target IBM contact who can affect or implement changes
  • Reaches out to appropriate contacts within IBM to share criticism or suggestions using clear concise, professional language
  • Any challenges, issues or problems you wish to resolve with IBM should be discussed with the appropriate IBM personnel in a private venue. Sharing frustrations in a public or social venue on issues that may reflect negatively on IBM, business partners and/or negatively impact revenue streams is not appropriate.

Nominations will be open until October 15th. The announcement of the new set of champions (including renewals) is currently planned for late November or early December.


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

How Do You Think You’re Seen by Others? You’re Probably Wrong

– from Dorie Clark, HBR.org

Author Dorie Clark

Author Dorie Clark

You probably think that you already know how others view you — as a skilled communicator, talented with numbers and data, or a manager who’s good at bringing out the best in her team, for example. Then again, you might be surprised.

Particularly for high-ranking leaders, it can be tough to know how you’re perceived by others. For one thing, employees who don’t want to jeopardize their own standing may be inclined to “put on a happy face”; for another, power has often been shown to distort leaders’ self-awareness.
But when it comes to your professional reputation, what matters significantly is how the world sees you. In other words, listen to what people in the outside world are telling you; they’re probably right. So how can you get the honest feedback you can use? Four ways to get the real picture.


Greater IBM, do you intend to try any of these methods? Let us know what you find out.


– Posted by Regan Kelly

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.


Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist

Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist


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.

Kicking Off 2013 with The Greater IBM Connection

In this week’s issue:

  • It’s all about leadership

  • IBM Connect 2013 – You still have time to sign up

  • What’s new around The Greater IBM Connection


It’s all about leadership

In the last few weeks, you might have noticed that a lot of our stories, social media posts, tips, and resources have focused on one essential idea: leadership.

After all, the start of a new year is a great time for assessing your life and career and for making new commitments. If one of your goals is to become a better leader, then here are some of the recent posts at The Greater IBM Connection around our central theme, for inspiration.

What are YOUR favorite leadership tips or quotations? Share them with your fellow community members in the Comments.


IBM Connect 2013 – You still have time to sign up

Get Social. Do Business. IBM Connect 2013 is almost here. This large-scale annual event, January 27 – 31 in Orlando, combines the deep technical content that you’ve loved for 20 years with the learning you need to accelerate your move beyond social media to drive real business value with social and collaborative technologies. And there’s still time to register.

connect 2013

Why you need to Connect

At IBM Connect 2013, you’ll have opportunities for:

  • 1:1 executive connections
  • Peer to peer connections
  • Exchanging best practices
  • Networking and partnering

What’s in it for me?

You’ll leave IBM Connect with a clear path on how to go beyond social media and embrace social technologies to drive tangible business value and results. You’ll be ready to start using key technologies such as collaboration, portal, Web experiences, content management, analytics, process management, and commerce to go from simply ‘liking’ on social media to truly leading.

How to register:

Register for this event and identify yourself as an IBM alumnus – we’ll let you know about special alumni networking opportunities at and around this event. When registering, you’ll be asked how you heard about the conference. Select “Other”, and then in the open field, be sure to include the code IBMALUM13. That’s all there is to it.

Register now


Don’t miss this new Web lecture, From Liking to Leading(Note: may require a one-time sign-in)

In this brief video, learn more about what social business means to you and your business:


blogWhat’s new around The Greater IBM Connection

The beginning of the year can be especially busy, with catching up on work missed over the holidays, setting goals for the new year, keeping resolutions. In case you missed these, here’s a roundup of some of the most widely read stories on The Greater IBM Connection blog:

Anything you would like to read more about at The Greater IBM Connection? We always like to hear from you; let us know in the Comments.

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


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.

Are You Being a True Leader? Or Just Acting Like a Boss?


In the fast-paced, stressful environment of the work world,  leaders can all too easily stop being a leader and start acting like a boss. A boss who supervises a staff, which reports to the boss, just like it says on the organizational chart. And they do exactly what the boss says, because, of course,  “He’s or she’s the boss!“ In other words, leaders who fall into this trap can bring a team’s progress to a screeching halt.

That’s why, as a leader or a potential future leader, you need to recognize the most significant differences between acting like a boss and true leadership, and avoid descending into mediocrity, or failure. The 15 signs to watch out for.

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


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.