"If a corporation is always juggling players trying to have the best team of the moment they will never experience the greatest team of all time."
Peter E. Greulich, March 12, 2012
Thoughts while discussing leadership on Linkedin Groups and reading about IBM's latest round of resource actions.
An IBM Caretaker's Perspective
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__Abraham Lincoln was a story teller; Tom Watson was a story creator.
Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer; Tom Watson a salesman. Abraham Lincoln united a country divided against itself; Tom Watson slaved to prevent capitalism from collapsing upon itself. Abraham Lincoln’s vocation was politics; Tom Watson’s was business. Abraham Lincoln, in a single decade, imprinted his name on American history; Tom Watson, over four decades, redefined American capitalism. Abraham Lincoln’s temperament was akin to sainthood; Tom Watson’s, not so much. Although they pursued different vocations within different historical settings, they shared a common goal; to build a lasting creation by inspiring loyalty, focusing on the greater good and changing men’s hearts.
Abraham Lincoln has been described as awkward, melancholy and a not-handsome man. Yet he would transform upon stage. Listening to his oratory, reporters would often forget to put pencil to paper. One such speech delivered on May 29, 1856, is today only known by the historical footnote, “Lincoln’s Lost Speech.” The first time Lincoln stepped on stage to debate Stephen Douglas he spoke for three hours—an impassioned defense of the fledgling anti-slavery movement. Horace White, a Chicago Tribune reporter, described this moment, “His speaking went to the heart because it came from the heart. I have heard celebrated orators who could start thunders of applause without changing any man’s opinion. Mr. Lincoln’s eloquence was of the higher type, which produced conviction in others because of the conviction of the speaker himself.” Abraham Lincoln, as the consummate story teller, changed hearts.
Tom Watson Sr. possessed honorable beliefs, deep convictions and a desire to speak to men’s hearts but he lacked Lincoln’s stage presence and oratory elegance. What Lincoln accomplished on-stage, Tom Watson Sr. performed off-stage. His actions, more than his words, changed opinions, produced unshakeable loyalty and touched the IBMer‘s heart.
This is one of those off-stage stories.
_Content, captions and illustrations partially extracted and updated from: The World's Greatest Salesman.
Peter E. Greulich
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Forgotten Stories of Thomas J. Watson Sr.
- Watson Sr. and the Original Story of THINK
- Watson Sr. and THINK
- Watson Sr. and Salvador Dali
- Watson Sr. and H. G. Davis
- Watson Sr. and The Lengthening Shadow
- Watson Sr., Widows and Orphans, and the IBM Retirement Plan
- Watson Sr. and World Peace
- Watson Sr. and Thoughtful Mistakes
- Watson Sr. and Wild Ducks
- Watson Sr. and Education
- Watson Sr. and The Cost of War
- Watson Sr. and The $1,000-A-Day Man
- Watson Sr. and J. C. Penney - The Thomas Watson Homestead Memorial
- Watson Sr. and Value of the Individual Worker
- Watson Sr. on Thomas Jefferson
- Watson Sr. and Ruth Leach: Prize Students and Pajama Parties
- Watson Sr. and USO-Camp Shows