Three Leadership Lessons

The team at Trilogy Effect is pleased to welcome Patricia Vekich Waldron, Global Industry Marketing Director, IBM Corporation as a guest blogger. @PVWaldron.


There is always something to learn from leadership isn’t there? It’s an amazing gift and a remarkable responsibility to be a global leader in a complex and competitive corporation. 

In my role, I’m charged to deliver tangible business benefits. I set industry strategies and then put the company’s resources at risk to bring them to life. Throughout my career, I’ve had the great fortune to learn from many people … I asked some of them what leadership is and what it isn’t? Here is what they told me:

These responses confirm my belief that leadership is a combination of knowledge, skills and circumstance. It is not predicated on a title, degree, size of a team, budget or the location of your office.  

To create and bring a global strategy to life is like producing a movie where the director must have the following qualities:

  • Competence to create a script that compels (strategy)
  • Curiosity to assemble cast, crew and cinematography that excites (team)
  • Creativity to wrap, edit and premier the final production (launch)

Competence

I believe leaders must have significant business, solution and domain expertise to craft a compelling and relevant vision.  An executive I admire calls this breadth and depth of experience ‘eminence’.  In my case, it’s the combination of many years at the intersection of the retail, consumer products and technology industries.I understand the mega-trends, data points, industry imperatives and how my company can deliver solutions to help our clients become more relevant to their customers.  This level of expertise gives me credibility with stakeholders, managers and teams to get agreement on the approach.  And it ensures I can effectively represent the strategy when I  speak with analysts, press and most importantly, clients.

Curiosity

 When strategic decisions (solutions, services, campaigns, events) are made and communicated, it kicks-off the expenditure of scarce corporate resources, both people and funds.  It also sets the tone for the projects that teams will plan and execute activities.  On my core team, I look for a mix of talent, expertise and experience – we need to be agile and speak business shorthand to one another.  I’m known to mentor others, celebrate successes, acknowledge individuals’ efforts and life milestones and I give frank feedback.  Even in a digital world, we are all humans, and you cannot lead without followers.

Along with the core team, a myriad of internal ecosystems and stakeholders as well as external agencies are involved the making of our movie. 

Being restless, I try to balance challenges, praise, encouragement, iteration and brainstorming with teams to get the very best result. I push people to come up with fresh approaches, to show up differently. I want them to know I’m interested in their feelings and opinions as well as the logic, processes and practical constraints of business as usual.

Here is where I’ve learned to better deal with ‘unexpected results’ from my own coach.  We all know that projects and relationships can easily go awry - even when based on solid strategies and the best intentions. 

While I must admit it’s not always my first inclination, I try to be curious about the situation and assume positive intent from others. 

This helps me remove emotion, identify core issues and solve breakdowns as quickly as possible.  Being more open about personal feelings and business needs brings me the clarity and creativity needed to resolve and respond to countless daily decisions, disruptions and details from across the organization.  I am grateful for the wisdom from my team as well as support from mentors, advocates and a coach who inspires me. They have all helped me refine my leadership style and capabilities.

Creativity

 With a strong script and the right cast, crew and cinematography, directors must edit and package the final film and distribute it to audiences.  In business, we launch new products, debut new branding and tell stories that introduce our capabilities to a targeted audience. We must show the tangible business benefits of our solutions.  The messages, visuals, vehicles and tactics must be planned and executed flawlessly - and they must capture the attention and imagination of our clients and prospects. 

The Sequel

My leadership style continues to evolve as I give my very best efforts to be grounded in the business, industry and technology trends. I’ll continue to demonstrate curiosity and transparency. I love to harness the power of people to creatively solve business problems in ways both new and old. I aspire to be a competent, curious and creative leader, and to come and go gracefully as I take on new challenges at work … and in life. 

Perhaps I’ll really direct a movie!


Guest Blogger:  Patricia Vekich Waldron , Global Industry Marketing Director, IBM Corporation  @PVWaldron

Guest Blogger: Patricia Vekich Waldron, Global Industry Marketing Director, IBM Corporation  @PVWaldron


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