The IBM Success Story

There is a story attributed to Thomas J Watson (snr),  the man who took a collection of debt-ridden time recording and tabulating companies and turned them into the colossus that is the modern IBM and who, when asked what made the company so successful replied:

IBM is what it is today for three special reasons. The first reason is that, at the very beginning, I had a very clear picture of what the company would look like when it was finally done. You might say I had a model in my mind of what it would look like when the dream – my vision – was in place.

The second reason was that once I had that picture, I then asked myself how a company which looked like that would have to act. I then created a picture of how IBM would act when it was finally done.

The third reason IBM has been so successful was that once I had a picture of how IBM would look when the dream was in place and how such a company would have to act, I then realised that, unless we began to act that way from the very beginning, we would never get there.

In other words, I realised that for IBM to become a great company it would have to act like a great company long before it ever became one.

From the very outset, IBM was fashioned after the template of my vision. And each and every day we attempted to model the company after that template. At the end of each day we asked ourselves how well we did, discovered the disparity between where we were and where we had committed ourselves to be, and, at the start of the following day, set out to make up for that difference.

Every day at IBM was a day devoted to business development, not to doing business.

We didn’t do business at IBM, we built one.

Practical Tips for your business success

Not sure where to start with “seeing” the success of your business? Need some practical help with how to proceed? Well, here are some practical tips for you to use and if you’d like some more help or would just like to talk through your business thoughts and ideas then don’t forget to speak to me, Dave Baker, your Charting Success Business Coach on 01284 330400

1.     Start with the end in mind. Close your eyes and envision where you really want to be with your business in one, three or five years’ time. Think of it as a “Dream Destination”. Write it down so that you can come back to it again and again and remind yourself of where you ultimately want to be.

2.     Be clear about your dream. If you think about it as a Dream Destination then use the “DREAM” part as an acronym to enable you to be really clear about it. i.e.

D – Determinate – Be specific, not fuzzy. You want to achieve annual sales of £xxx by a specific date, or you want to have at least x% market share by a specific date.

R – Realistic – Don’t set impossible goals. They need to be challenging but they have to be achievable.

E – Exotic – It’s a Dream Destination remember; dreams should never be mundane. Think sun-drenched Bahamas not Bognor Regis (no offence to Bognor Regis intended).

A – Agreed – This Dream Destination is a company goal so it’s likely to involve other people. Make sure you do involve them and win their support in reaching the Dream Destination

M – Measurable – You must be able to measure your progress towards your Dream Destination so that, if nothing else, you know when you’ve actually arrived!

3.     Review your dream regularly. Just as with planning the ultimate holiday where you might take out the colourful brochures and read them again and again, imagining yourself actually on that holiday soaking up the sunshine or skiing down the piste; do the same with your commercial Dream Destination. Review your dream at least once a month, make sure that it is still something that excites you and that it is still a valid destination. After all, you wouldn’t continue with your plans of an ultimate holiday if your proposed destination was ravaged by a hurricane or involved in a war (well, at least, most people wouldn’t) so you may have to modify your commercial Dream Destination if it is affected by factors outside your control.