Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Being on The Outside of IBM and insight from INC magazine

While I am outside of IBM, well as outside as a Business Partner can be, I can enjoy the best of both worlds, post what I want, with no lawyers on my back and yet be close with different people across the whole company because of a NDA we have with them.

I pointed out last week in a number of discussions that I never post anything that is not already public in some shape or form, though I am sure on occasion something may have slipped, no one is perfect. Also pointed out that although on Twitter I may argue about some points more strongly than on my blog, I do strive to maintain the blog at a reasonable expectation level and not provide fodder for the competition.

With this in mind, a recent article in Inc. magazine, titled "How Great Entrepreneurs Think" ,
the article was about the differences between entrepreneurs and older organizations. Some obvious ideas, some not so obvious. Case in point, one of the people in the discussion said:

"At one time in our company, I ordered our people not to think about competitors. Just do your job. Think only of your work. Now that isn't entirely possible. Now, in fact, competitive information is very valuable. But I wanted to be sure that we didn't worry about competitors. And to that end, I gave the annual plan to every employee. And they said, 'Well, aren't you afraid your competitors are gonna get this information and get an advantage?' I said, 'It's much riskier to not have your employees know what you need to do than it is to run the risk of competitors finding out. Cause they'll find out somehow anyway. But if one of your employees doesn't know why they're doing their job, then you're really losing out."
This highlights some of what we saw last week at Lotusphere. While the messages may have been sent out, not every one was on the same page. Many were, but a socially connected business must also have open communication within their own walls. IBMers knew the rebranding was going on, they knew Social Business was how to refer to Lotusphere but it seems not every one was or is aware of just what the next steps are or will be.

Naturally a company the size of IBM, about 400,000 people, it takes time to get the word out but it still seems that there is internal strife about product lines and solutions. While I don't believe this will change in the short term, in about 2-3 years all should be quiet internally as everyone settles into teh new world.

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