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Thomas Watson Jr. Quotes
Let's avoid being over cautious, conservative, playing it safe. We should have the courage to take risks when they are thoughtful risks. We must try to make clear, sound, aggressive decisions, not waiting until every possible base has been touched. Each of us must aim to make his own decisions, and shun the process of decision of agreement of all possible interested parties. We should be motivated by what is right for the IBM company rather than by the niceties of internal diplomacy. We expect that there will be mistakes. We must forgive mistakes which have been made because someone was trying to act aggressively in the company's interest.
There are many things I would like IBM to be known for, but no matter how big we become, I want this company to be known as the company which has the greatest respect for the individual.
One of the proudest claims is the fact that people say IBM is a good place to work. I like to think that as we continue to grow we are not only going to live up to that claim, but make IBM an even better place to work.
It is essential for each of us to strive to retain originality and to maintain our identity as human beings.
"Think it through" is a reminder that creative, individual thinking is an indispensable tool in finding solutions to the manifold problems of today's modern business and social activities.
Thinking things through is hard work and it sometimes seems safer to follow the crowd. That blind adherence to such group thinking is, in the long run, far more dangerous than independently thinking things through.
Machines might give us more time to think but will never do our thinking for us.
We believe in the importance of the individual at IBM and we'll never forget it. We think it's more important than the most fantastic electronic product that we could ever invent.
No subject occupies mo executive time at IBM than the well-being of our employees and their families.
This is a company of human beings not machines, personalities not products, people not real estate.
We are looking for the factual, outspoken, courageous man who will really call them as he sees them.
For those who have that priceless ingredient of being a little bit wild, hang onto it and don't let anyone talk you into being the safe company man.
I think my most important job in IBM is working with anybody who has a problem.
Failure to delegate is the biggest single obstacle to job performance in IBM.
Obviously we want high standards of behaviour and grooming in this organization. But such standards should be general, not specific. The object is to make sure we are always able to represent the IBM company in the best possible way - not that we should all look alike, or be walking, talking replicas of our superiors. Let's not confuse propriety with uniformity.
Service has always been the hallmark of our company, and looking at the years ahead, I think that the margin between our success and failure will be measured more and more in terms of the service we provide. I am speaking not only of the service we agree to provide by contract but also of that quality of urgency expressed by people who desire to do a little more than is expected. To respond cheerfully and willingly to the needs of customers, fellow employees and everyone we meet in our business contacts.
The employee relations of this company were founded long ago upon the Golden Rule and we expect all of our managers in working with their people to start with this fundamental. In keeping with this, we will continue to be sensitive to any personal problem which may temporarily affect an employee's performance.
The one unbeatable talent IBM has been most proud of through its history has been, and is today, the contributions of loyalty and skill of every employee.
IBM's future is in the hands of its people. Our future is unlimited.
One of the things my father always tried to impress me wit was that the success we want as individuals and as a business is the kind that is built and sustained by the good will of other people. The only way we can be sure of keeping this good will is always to consider the total impact of our personal and collective behaviour. The little things we do - or fail to do - often testify louder than the loudest statements of our intentions. It is easy to be big in big things, in big moments, when everyone is watching. Real character emerges in the way we meet our routine, everyday obligations. Really big people are, above everything, courteous, considerate, and generous, not just to some people, in some circumstances, but to everyone all the time. One of the reasons we are known as a great company is that we are known as a company made up of people like that.
If IBM is to continue to be strong, to grow, and to bring profit to all of us in the company and to our customers and stockholders, we must be certain - constantly - that we are headed in the right direction, making the right decisions, and treating every employee with respect.
Nothing can bring disaster more rapidly to a business and to its people than a breakdown in communications and in understanding.
We intend to maintain a system in IBM which ensures unimpaired two-way communication. We want every IBMer to contribute his ideas and thereby lend his influence to our progress.
We have always believed in IBM that our most important asset is our people and so we have followed a basic principle of trying to hire, train and keep the best possible people. This principle, along with the recognition of the dignity of every individual, is the backbone of IBM employee relations.
The pursuit of perfection means not just enthusiasm for doing a topnotch job in important things, it means attention to detail and an itch to innovate and improve in whatever we have to do. It means to be dissatisfied with the status quo. We ought always to know precisely why a given job is done in a particular way, and why it is done at all, and why it can't be done more efficiently, if it must be done at all. This is the attitude that built our modern industrial society. It is the attitude that built IBM. I hope we never lose it.
Kierkegaard drives his point - you can make wild ducks tame, but you can never make tame ducks wild again. One might also add that the duck who is tamed will never go anywhere any more. We are convinced that any business needs its wild ducks. And in IBM we try not to tame them.
IBM's dedication to the dignity of the individual is no myth. To me it is the very essence of our success.
As we grow in size, we must make certain that what we're adding is not excess weight, but healthy muscle.
One of the ironies of our business is that we can transmit the most complex information in a fraction of a second with the computer - but when we use the written or spoken word to communicate with one another in everyday situations, we often fall back on jargon which obscures our meaning. We put together long words where short ones will serve, fancy phrases where plain talk is needed. My father used to urge people to "talk net", and he had the right idea.
We accept our responsibilities as a corporate citizen in community, national and world affairs; we serve our interests best when we serve the public interest. We believe that the immediate and long-term public interest is best served in a system of competing enterprises. Therefore, we believe we should compete vigorously, but in a spirit of fair play, with respect for our competitors, and with respect for the law. In communities where IBM facilities are located, we do our utmost to help create an environment in which people want to work and live. We acknowledge our obligation as a business institution to help improve the quality of the society we are part of. We want to be in the forefront of those companies which are working to make the world a better place.
Each of us must periodically stop to remember how important personal appreciation and recognition are to every person.
There is an old staying that when you talk - you teach, when you listen - you learn. There are a lot of ideas worth listening to in this company. Let's be sure we're paying attention. We are never so rich in ideas that we can afford not to.
Outside or inside the business, the matter of "calendar integrity" is an inherent indication of the orderliness with which the company plans and executes its functions. In a business that moves as fast as ours, that is as complex as ours, that has as many people as ours, there will always be the requirement for many meetings, presentations and appointments, but I think we can make "calendar integrity" a way of doing business and benefit from its discipline.
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Thomas Watson Jr. Quotes
By Thomas Watson Jr.
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