Jessi Hempel wrote a terrific profile of IBM's Ginni Rometty in the current "Most Powerful Women" issue. What made the article, "IBM's Ginni Rometty looks ahead" so worth reading is that Hempel not just the insight into Rometty's personality and career achievements. It's that the article contains at least three pieces of business insight that all of us can use.
Here are the three lessons I learned from the article:
- "Whatever business you're in -- it doesn't matter -- it's going to commoditize over time. It's going to devalue. You've got to keep moving it to a higher value." We should all look at where we can improve the value of our services and products.
- "IBM's most senior executives have long served on three teams -- operating, technology, and strategy -- to help guide the company. Rometty created a fourth leadership team, the Client Experience Team, which she chairs. There are no senior executives on the team. Rather, she appointed a series of client-facing executives to meet with her once a month."
- To open new markets, sometimes you need to find new problems to solve for new internal customers. For Rometty growth comes not just from inventing new technologies to sell to her existing clients. "Growth at IBM's scale also means creating new markets...Now Rometty is making a similar pitch to marketing executives, promising that technology will change the way they do their jobs. It won't be an easy sell: Marketers are less apt than bureaucrats to be wowed by a charismatic CEO or statistics about petabytes. Many are accustomed to seeing computing as a tool to support their creative endeavors, not the starting point."