Here’s my first attempt at a career statement which captures why I’m at IBM:
Helping companies help people connect
What does that mean?Let’s look at the core idea: to help people connect. I want to help people connect with the people they work with and with the people they would never have gotten to know otherwise. I want to help people expand and deepen their networks. In the process, we will make the world smaller. It takes only a few random links to bring different parts of the world together.
Why are these networks important? Because opportunities flow through networks. Conversations are rooted in networks. Ideas begin in networks. I believe that there’s a lot of untapped potential for great ideas, teamwork, and innovations in the worldwide conversations that we haven’t yet had. I believe that we are going to need that potential to face the accelerating rate of changes and challenges that my generation is going to inherit.
I’m not just talking about connecting people with other people in the same organization. I want to connect people with other people who can help make good things happen, no matter where they are or who they are. I want to connect people with the ideas and tools that can help them make good things happen. I want to help people connect with themselves, too: that rich, unconscious collection of experiences and insights and potential that needs to be shared in order to be understood.
I want to help people connect, but as much as I enjoy building these links one at a time, I don’t have enough lifetimes to do everything. So I want to help companies help people connect. I am part of a very big thing, too big for me to do by myself. I want to learn how to help companies learn how to help their people connect with each other and with people outside the company. By refining and sharing best practices and tools for connecting, I want to help companies help people connect the dots. Maybe the person who would never think of giving a speech in front of a crowd might share a tip or a bookmark to a great resource. Maybe the person who would never think of going to a networking event might make a great connection online thanks to a blog entry or a forum post. And maybe these new connections will help bring us this much closer to the ideas and innovations we need in order to keep moving forward.
That’s what I care about. That’s why I’m here: helping companies help people connect.
(Stay tuned! I just realized that I’ve been thinking about some things all wrong…)