Leadership in the era of cognitive systems: GSOM SPbU hosted a lecture by Harry van Dorenmalen, Chairman of the Board, IBM


April 4, 2017 GSOM SPbU hosted an open lecture by IBM Chairman Harry van Dorenmalen. He spoke with students, teachers, alumni and friends of GSOM SPbU about the leadership and secrets of doing business in our interesting times - in an era when cognitive systems rule the ball.


Mr. van Dorenmalen started the lecture with a brief information about three computer eras: the Tabulating Era (Manual and Punched) of the 1900s, when computer technology assumed manual control; the Programmable Era of the 1950s; and finally, nowadays - the era of cognitive systems, when machines have learned to learn and adapt, understand the language of a man, generate and analyze.




“Soft” skills will continue to be in demand


Harry Van Dorenmalen shared his unique professional and personal knowledge about leadership. At the same time, the three main distinguishing features, which define generally successful leadership in our time, are flexibility, curiosity and openness for changes. From the professional point of view, the successful leader of the cognitive era should have the skill of an integrated approach to problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, the ability to work with people, emotional intelligence, etc.



Speak in the language, people can understand you


From the perspective of personal qualities, Mr. van Dorenmalen gave ten constructive advice:

  • Personal is powerful 
  • Focused teams are better than coordinated gatherings
  • Move to the future (learn from the past )
  • Don’t rationalize a lack of performance
  • Clarity - use words people understand
  • Arrogance kills! 
  • Don´t rely on outsiders, they don´t have your interest at heart
  • Find your balance and embrace it
  • Tomorrow’s leaders must embrace technology
  • Be pragmatic – not ideological

Mr. van Dorenmalen also talked about factors that can help build a successful career in a large company. One of his main tips was patience: before taking a high-level post, a person should find time for a career - to have a family and raise children. Along with these important ingredients of major career achievements are continuous training, a bit of luck and the ability to enjoy what you are doing.

After the lecture of the Chairman of the Board, IBM demonstrated how to be a leader in the modern era: Harry van Dorenmalen personally said goodbye to each guest of the lecture, thanked those who asked interesting questions, wished success in career achievements, shook hands. The listeners thanked Mr. van Dorenmalen for speaking in a language that they understood and for the inspiration that he gave to audience.





Лидерство в эпоху когнитивных систем: в ВШМ СПбГУ состоялась лекция Харри ван Доренмалена, председателя правления IBM