Jon Iwata: Three Keys to Success

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July 18, 2013 by ncd6329



“Lincoln said character is like a tree, reputation is like its shadow. Many believe their job is to manipulate the shadow rather than tend to the health of the tree. In this world of transparency and democratized media, it is increasingly difficult for organizations and individuals to lead double lives. There can be no image management without behavior management.”

 – IBM Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Jon Iwata

The town of Armonk, NY is home to the corporate headquarters of global IT giant, IBM.  My team and I traveled to Armonk recently to meet with corporate visionary Jon Iwata and several other IBM VP’s to get a better understanding of just what IBM stands for.

 Jon Iwata is the current Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing at IBM.  Iwata is responsible for overseeing and guiding the image of the entire company as well as developing and impressing its core values upon IBMers like myself.  Jon is a prime example of a forward-thinking businessman with strong values and a progressive vision for “his” company’s future.  As a veteran IBMer of over twenty years, he exemplifies the values he has instilled in the company.

After speaking on what value were core to IBMers worldwide, Jon gave the audience three key insights into what it takes to achieve greatness—for both IBM and us as individuals.

Be your brand!  Focus on what your personal “brand” is and shape your skills to your talents.

 –Be awesome at something!  To excel in the world of business, you must have a standout skill that you are known for. 

 –Focus on the core needs of the job!  Be able to identify your purpose and devise a plan to excel at your position!

Iwata defines what it means to be an IBMer.

In today’s world, the field of Marketing is being reinvented.  Marketing has traditionally been a reactive discipline however; to taste success, we must take a more active stance. In the past, most of your reputation was based on how you fought the “fires” that your company faced.   As seen in the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 Tragedy, the growing realm of media surrounding us wants to see exactly HOW we are tackling challenges.

 “We must learn how to wrestle our challenges and not worship them.”

Jon Iwata has experienced many successes throughout his career.  There is however, one in particular that he is most proud of–Smarter Planet.  The Smarter Planet initiative seeks to highlight how forward-thinking leaders are capturing the potential of smarter systems to achieve amazing results and make the world a better place. Some have suggested that the campaign is merely a publicity stunt but Iwata only grinned and wagged his finger in disagreement.  His grin was fueled by the success of the campaign in connecting with the emotions of everyday people. This is an incredible milestone for a now solely B2B enterprise.  From the Smarter Planet initiative, it is clear that essential is an emotion.

“When a B2B company connects with everyday people, that is when you know you have succeeded!”

Thank you for reading!


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