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Leaders Developing Leaders at IBM
As technology and business processes continue to evolve, IBM's Ted Hoff keeps the tech conglomerate at the forefront of innovation by investing in time and resources to enable employees to stay ahead of the curve.
As technology and business processes continue to evolve at an unprecedented rate, IBM's Ted Hoff strives to keep the tech conglomerate at the forefront of innovation by investing in time and resources to enable employees to stay ahead of the curve.
Leaders develop leaders. That’s IBM’s corporate mantra for its approach to developing its nearly 400,000 employees around the globe.
Ted Hoff, vice president of the Center for Learning and Development at IBM Corp., not only propagates this business model, he considers it integral to the success of raising up a new generation of leaders at the tech conglomerate.
“We bring IBMers in to develop other IBMers — and not just hierarchically; we also [have] peers developing peers,” Hoff said. “We regularly foster approaches in which we bring leaders in to formally organized sessions — whether it’s in-person, face-to-face sessions or delivered virtually over technology. We have a proactive process of mentorship at IBM so that [an employee] can gain support from not only a direct manager but also from people outside [their] management chain.”
This approach allows leaders to develop themselves even as they develop others, he explained.
Hoff’s multifaceted role at IBM has evolved since he started working at the company eight years ago, and it can be categorized under broad functions.
First off, he has assumed responsibility for the management of all leadership placement and succession planning, as well as the development of the benches and pipelines, which includes managing plans that are created to fill what he refers to as “critical gap leadership roles” and involves finding individuals with the right capabilities — either within the IBM family or externally.
Executive recruiting is another facet of the business that Hoff has taken on in recent years. “[It] logically fits within the overall responsibility of identifying the people who potentially may fill certain roles, so if we don’t have the right pipeline at IBM, we can go to the outside,” he said. Hoff added that this also involves the “identification of places where we think we need increased diversity of thought or where we proactively want to bring in an outsider.”
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