“Leading through connections: interesting insights from the IBM 2012 C.E.O.s Survey”

by Didier Marlier on Friday September 28th, 2012

Every two years, IBM runs a worldwide survey of 1’700 C.E.O.s from the public and private sectors, on emerging trends and issues.

For us, this report sounds like music to our ears, as it seems to recognize the emergence of the Open Source Economy.

Three main themes came out of the CEO’s (amongst whom probably several of you) who were interviewed:

  •  The necessity to create more open and collaborative cultures, mainly to attract/retain their talents
  • The technology investments to be made in order to engage customers as individuals
  • The need to extensively partner in order to take on radical innovation.

The IBM reports recommends then to:

  • Empower employees through values, as a way to mitigate the risks linked to more openness
  • Engage customers as individuals, through knowledge
  • Amplify innovation with partnerships

Here are some of the quotes that I found relevant in the report:

  • Tight control gives way to more openness/Openess puts a premium on corporate culture
  • The “Future-proof employee” (being collaborative, communicative, creative and flexible)
  • Replace rulebooks with shared beliefs (my favourite)!!!
  • Create unconventional teams: Nothing new here (the “Paradox of friendship study had already demonstrated that necessity but it is good that it comes out so strongly
  • Concentrate on experiential learning, which is at the core of our way of designing programs
  • Empower high-value employee networks
  • Saying “so long” to solo innovation (ecosystems)
  • Partnerships: the next frontier for openness

CEO’s then took a look at themselves and estimated that the three qualities that would most be helpful to them while leading in the Open Source Economy are: Customer obsession, inspirational leadership and leadership teaming (ie. great leadership teams)

I apologize for a somewhat “cut & paste” post this time but thought worthwhile sharing the findings of this study. If you wish to make your own mind and treat this document with the respect it deserves, you may contact iibv@us.ibm.com.

On my way to Sao-Paulo for a series of speaking contracts. Have a great week all


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3 Responses to ““Leading through connections: interesting insights from the IBM 2012 C.E.O.s Survey””

  1. Thank you for this post, Dids! I am totally in agreement with the findings of the survey. At the same time, I find it quite interesting that among the top qualities the leaders think they need is “inspiring leadership”. This still has a flavour of the old paradigm to it, because the unspoken sub-text is, “these workers lack inspiration, and I, as their leader, must provide it to them, by being inspiring”. As opposed to a more open version: “these workers each have their unique inspiration; how can we structure ourselves to tap into that, set it free, and enrich all our lives?” Bon voyage, Didier!

    • Thank you Pierre, and yes agreed that some of the reflections still suggest the respondents to be stuck into old and unconscious “orthodoxies” about leadership. Thank you for your great comment as usual. Have a good week too… Didier


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