Culture and Global Leadership

Culture and Global Leadership

For John Tolva, IBM’s Chicago-based director of citizenship and technology, the value of his four-week assignment to Ghana last year really hit him during a game of Scrabble by candlelight.

He and teammates from India, Germany, Brazil, and other countries had agreed on an unorthodox rule: You could use any language you knew. “That’s when I understood what a globally integrated enterprise looks like,” he says.

He and the others were forced to ask “what connects us,” since it obviously wasn’t language or culture. The real connection, Tolva says, is “the values that IBM has instilled in us. It’s a professional code that isn’t written down — but it’s there.”

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Katia Reed
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