I’ve never written a blog before. My track record with old-fashioned paper journals when I was a kid wasn’t that great, either. So bear with me if you can, and let me know how I can get better.
I am a nerd. I’ve been intrigued in world economic growth since I can remember, and my particular interest in how the for-profit world affects the greater social good has been growing for time now. So my brain is still caught up in the concept of “doing good” – what it means for me, what it means for IBM, and how Corporate Service Corps fits into all that. On one hand, the Corporate Service Corps program represents a consulting project just like any other IBM Global Business Services would normally perform for a client. We’ll engage with a customer, learn about their business, work with them to find a solution to a key problem or challenge they are experiencing. But (in my humble opinion) there are a couple of particularly “good” aspects of this CSC project (apart from what’s already been chronicled by the likes of the Harvard Business Review, Mckinsey, and others…).
It will have a huge learning curve – both for us and for our clients. Learning new things is a basic part of any consulting effort. As a consultant, you can’t identify a problem and help clients find a solution if you aren’t willing to learn about the client first. But I’ve been working with other consultants in the same client space for nearly 6 years at this point. When I go to Morocco, I’m facing a new place, new teammates, and a new kind of client. On the flip side, my new client will have at their disposal a team of IBMers from all over the world who normally function in very different jobs. If we’re successful, we’ll all learn a lot from each other.
It will force us to rely on non-core skills. For example: apparently I may need to translate between French and English on behalf of my sub-team. Sure, I spent a lot of time and effort learning French in school, but the last time I seriously attempted to communicate using that language was over 5 years ago. Who knows what other forgotten experiences and skills I’ll need along the course of this little adventure?
It offers a break from the daily grind. This is huge for me personally. I won’t lie to you; there are some mornings (lately, a lot of mornings) that I wake up and do not want to come to work. My commute is too long. We’ve been trying to resolve an issue with our project for too long without real progress. I have to deal with people I’d rather not deal with in the office. You probably know the feeling. But then there are days when I come home feeling like the work I do is important and my team is making great progress on critical issues facing our clients. CSC is presenting me with a new adventure with a huge learning curve in North Africa - a part of the world I’ve always wanted to visit (Lucky me!). Perhaps more importantly, it’s forcing me to reflect on my every day job – the good and the bad - as I prepare to take a month-long break. I find myself thinking that having a reason to reflect on how what we do on our day jobs affect the world around us is a huge (and lasting) benefit all on its own.
…and on top of all of that “good”, we received our sub-teams and client assignments yesterday. Next task is to balance excitement with realism, and go search for my old French grammar books...!