Can Leaders Make Watson’s Cognitive World a Reality?

How do we make cognitive businesses a reality?How do we make cognitive businesses a reality?

I’m out next week at IBM’s World of Watson in Las Vegas. I’ve been give an all access pass to find out why my clients should begin adopting cognitive technologies. As the chief geek for many of my clients’ organizations, I’m tasked with finding out what’s happening, how much of its real, and how much is marketing hype. I hate hype. I need to find out if what’s keeping my clients awake at night is real.

If my clients can’t sleep, I can’t sleep. So here are four questions that keep coming up in my client’s discussion of advanced analytics and cognitive computing. I’m on a mission to help you get answers. Let’s see if you have the same questions they do,

World of Watson has invested significant amounts of money to help you see the benefits of cognitive computing. IBM has spent $30 billion to create these technologies for your organization. The number one question I get asked is:  Do I have the right people to help me implement these advanced technologies?

As a management consultant that does team building and executive search, I love this question.  What skills and capabilities does your organization need to leverage cognitive computing? We will be investing significant time talking with people at the conference to see what they’ve seen work.

As importantly, what they are doing to evaluate their people and systems. People are the foundation of cognitive success. You may need to evaluate how you develop your team’s capabilities to leverage these powerful management tools.

The second question I get from clients is:  How do I help bring my people up to speed? What are the critical capabilities required to get a good ROI on these new technology investments? I’m attending several classes to see if I can learn these new technologies. I will also be looking for how to create a learning culture where people are continuing to grow and develop new skills.

I believe these new technologies require stronger business and technical skills. Is your organization up to the task? I’m also working with several clients on a blended team approach to these challenges. High performing teams with multi-generational strengths will be required to become a market leader moving into the future. I just read that and got a buzz word score that is off the chart.

My editor won’t like this a bit. However we are basing what we learn on real world experiences, not discussions in ivory towers where they don’t have to create a thing and they still get paid the same for good or bad performance. But let me step off my soapbox before I fall and hurt myself.

The next question I get from clients is: Can I network with my peers?  People ask how I built my network. I like to say I’m a super connector. I’m always looking to get to know people who want to know my clients and their customers. This event should offer an incredible opportunity to get to know the people who are on the frontline of change.

I will spend significant time growing my network of people that you’ll get to know over the coming years. I have a strong track record of picking and nurturing the people who are impacting our world.  When I go to these events I’m not looking for hundreds of these people, I’m looking to find the best leaders and then begin cultivating our relationships.  My clients and partners are very successful entrepreneurs. Many started their businesses in garages and even in barber shops. All are people who make things happen.

I’ve spent more time on the road at technology events this year than I spent over past 10 years combined. My clients have told me this trend will continue because of the value of the network I’ve helped them build. Are you building a similar network? If you’re not your missing an incredible career and life opportunity.

Finally, we return to the place we started. Are you learning and growing? The future belongs to leaders who are lifetime earners with a bias towards action. Every day you must learn how to get the most out of your days. I believe that business leaders will need to learn from everything they do to keep up with the fast rate of change in our society.

I see this World of Watson conference as a great way to look into the future of business and the world. I’m looking forward to hear about how cognitive computing is changing the way we grow our business.

The last question is: Are we creating value? How do we apply what we learn at World of Watson to our families, communities and world? Let’s get started!

See you next week!

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