Sunday, February 10, 2013

Needs and Resources

In the last of the weekly meetings with my team members, who I will be meeting the end of this week, the Corporate CSC program representative joined to share some further insight with us about our upcoming trip. He mentioned how much the program leaders wished they had additional resources to be able to accept and send out more people on assignments.

2013 is the Fifth year of the IBM CSC program, and they will have sent out ~2000 people by the end of this year. This year alone there will be about 470 IBM employees in total that serve an assignments. I captured a few spinets from some of the final bit of reading preparation that caught my mind as follows:
The focus must move away from an emphasis on image to an emphasis on substance. “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Norwegian Prime Minister. Corporations are not responsible for all the world’s problems, nor do they have the resources to solve them all. Each company can identify the particular set of societal problems that it is best equipped to help resolve and from which it can gain the greatest competitive benefit. Addressing social issues by creating shared value will lead to self-sustaining solutions that do not depend on private or government subsidies. When a well-run business applies its vast resources, expertise, and management talent to problems that it understands and in which it has a stake, it can have a greater impact on social good than any other institution or philanthropic organization. from HBR Spotlight, Strategy & Society ; The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility
Jim Sinegal, cofounder and CEO of Costco, tells a business story that embodies the values he’s helped build into his company. Back in 1996, he often recounts, Costco was doing a brisk business in Calvin Klein jeans priced at $29.99. When a smart buyer got a better deal on a new batch of the jeans, company guidelines calling for a strict limit on price markups dictated a lower price of $22.99. Costco could have stuck to the original price and dropped seven extra dollars a pair straight into its own pocket. But Sinegal insisted on passing the savings on to customers, because he saw the company’s focus on customer value as the key to its success. The story continues to be told in Costco’s hallways today. It vividly conveys a message about the company’s values—one that resonates, in part, because it’s aligned with the personality of its author. Sinegal answers his own phone, draws an annual salary of just $350,000 (a fraction of what most big-company CEOs earn), and has signed an employment contract that’s only one page long—all of which means less cost for customers to absorb. from The Four Truths of the Storyteller by Peter Guber

These stories and the earlier discussion came keenly to mind tonight as I played a game all about resources with my family. To bad there is no "Tin" resource in Settlers of Catan, because my project will involve working with management of the The Living Museum of Sungai Lembing Mines, in it's day the Deepest Tin mine in the World.
Settlers of Catan
How often over the last 4 years have I heard debates about robbing the future to pay for the present. Social responsibility by a person is so much a personal sense of feeling or belief, where as a corporation is decision based after analysis of fact by many and an act of balancing available resources to further a collective agenda. The resources vary; time, money, food, medicine, knowledge. . . as do the players acting on behalf of the company. I'm just excited that I get to participate, and I can't help but wonder what new truths I will learn as I embark in just a few days now!

I know my family will survive without me, but I hope they take care of each others needs without to much trouble while I'm away seeing to other "needs". So grateful to my wife for being so supportive of me in this new endeavor. #ibmcsc Malaysia

1 comment:

  1. You have so much to offer to IBM's CSC and I know you will do a great work to help these wonderful people in Malaysia. We will miss you dearly at home, but there is absolutely no one that could take your place there and you are certainly needed with all your mind-blowing skills and fantastically fresh ideas! Seriously, you are amazing! Don't worry about us, because we will be well taken care of. We love you.