Corporate Responsibility

Sharing the Lessons of Responsible Stewardship

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What does leadership development have to do with Responsible Stewardship? As a global citizen operating in 170 countries with more than 300,000 employees, IBM has a unique opportunity, and responsibility, to innovate at the intersection of business & society. One of the most important ways to leverage our leadership position as a globally integrated enterprise is helping to shape the next generation of global leaders. That’s why IBM is proud to have joined The Global Peace Foundation in playing a critical role in the United Nations International Young Leaders Assembly (IYLA).

2018 IYLA Global Summit

Each year, the IYLA convenes young leaders to participate in interactive programs focused on matters of global significance. The goal is to affect a knowledge and values transfer of skills related to leadership and service. Since 2012, the IYLA has empowered more than 10,000 rising leaders from more than 150 countries to assume responsible stewardship of their communities, nations and the world.

IBM has long stood as an exemplar of the best principles and practices of general management – a concept that increasingly includes social responsibility and sustainability as other companies have begun to realize the value of IBM’s 108-year-long approach to integrated leadership. In representing IBM at the IYLA, I shared four pieces of advice based on my experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer, and subsequently as the executive head of IBM Citizenship’s Employee focused and Corporate Responsibility programs:

  • Adhere to your values while doing what you love: Find what you are passionate about, and connect it to your morals. But do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Stretch yourself to try new things.
  • Learn to listen: If you can master listening, you will improve immensely as a leader.
  • Always keep learning: As we learn and gather feedback, we continue to grow as leaders. Take a risk and fail forward.
  • Build your network: Creating and maintaining personal and professional partnerships broadens your perspective and enhances your leadership capability.

As the group learned from my colleagues, leadership development expert Peter Mostachetti and his team, the kind of leader you are depends on your values, culture, lifestyle and many other personal aspects of your life. Leaders should understand the importance of harnessing vulnerability, having a growth mindset and being able to accept feedback.

“This IBM executive training is an asset to our society and any leader out there –not just in the corporate world, but in politics and other spheres too…. This training is at the very core of leadership.”– IYLA Delegate Milca Kusonika, UK

“Year after year, the feedback from our delegates about the IBM leadership training session is phenomenal. They see great value in this training, and immediate improvements in their own leadership. This year’s training was the best among all. We are looking forward to continuing and strengthening the partnership to bring IYLA to a new level.”– IYLA Conference leader Victor Li

Our participation in events like the IYLA Global Summit shows IBM’s continued commitment to developing leadership skills globally. Seeing the growth and development of these young leaders year after year evidences the value of our work and dedication to being good citizens of the world.

Gina Tesla is Vice President of Corporate Citizenship at IBM.

Related Resources:

Learn More About IBM Corporate Citizenship

Read the 2017 IBM Corporate Responsibility Report

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