As President of IBM from 1952 to 1971, he was instrumental in the information revolution and the development of the modern computer. He also served as the president of the Boy Scouts of America and as the US Ambassador to the Soviet Union. He was an avid pilot and sailor as well.
His remarkable vision, however, extended beyond the spheres of business, politics, and adventure. He also had vision when it came to people:
As the story goes, A young executive was once summoned to Watson’s office after making multiple poor decisions that had cost IBM millions of dollars. As he entered Watson’s office, the young executive said, “I suppose after that set of mistakes you will want to fire me.”
“Not at all,” Watson replied, “we have just spent a couple of million dollars educating you!”
We often hear of great leaders who look into a situation, an industry, or a market and see something that no one else sees—then forge a way to bring it about. Exceptional leaders apply that vision to their people as well, peering into them, seeing what’s possible, and finding a way to realize it.
How have you been affected by a leader?