For more than a century, when people have sought a relationship with IBM—whether as a client, employee, partner or neighbor—what have they been seeking?
Perhaps it was deep expertise in science and technology. Or a partner with broad understanding of their industry or sector of society. It might have been long-standing presence in their market, their community or around the world. Or perhaps they hoped to learn from a company that itself had undergone continual change.
There are, however, certain kinds of aspirations that can't be achieved through organizational capabilities, global reach or technology—or by applying the lessons of the past. To capture the biggest economic opportunities or to tackle society's most daunting problems—to imagine what the world might be, and actually to build it—people have sought something more fundamental: a unique ability to conceptualize opportunities, to analyze developments, to tackle and overcome grand challenges.
In my view, the defining value that IBM has provided over the years has been the way we think. Today, as in the past, when people turn to our company, I believe they are looking for how IBMers approach problems, as well as for the types of problems we choose to approach. They seek a kind of relationship, in addition to the outcomes of that relationship. And they are drawn to a set of values that reflect their own.
Most companies aim to satisfy their customers. Some go farther, dedicating themselves to their clients' success. A few define success as bringing to the world innovations that make a lasting difference. A handful build trusted, long-term relationships with their owners, employees, partners, neighbors and the world at large.
For more than a century, IBM has chosen to live at the intersection of these values. This choice has enabled our company to prosper, to create value for our clients and owners, to provide rewarding careers for millions of people, and to be a progressive force in the societies in which we do our work.
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