HRINZ Conference 2005 Working Through Values Working Through Values  

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Keynote Speakers

Day Three – Friday 16 September

3.30pm-4.30pm - Closing Keynote Address

Robert Orth    

Engaging Hearts & Minds: IBM’s ValuesJam

Robert Orth, IBM Australia/New Zealand

In July 2003, IBM Corporation conducted a 72-hour experiment whose outcome was as uncertain as anything going on in its research labs. Six months into a top-to-bottom review of its management organisation, IBM held a 3 day discussion via the corporate intranet about the company’s values. The forum, dubbed ValuesJam, joined thousands of employees in a debate about the very nature of the organisation and what it stood for.

Over the three days, an estimated 50,000 of IBM’s employees – including CEO Sam Palmisano – checked out the discussion, posting nearly 10,000 comments about the proposed values. The jam had clearly struck a chord.

Using a specially tailored “jamalyzer” tool, IBM analysts crunched the million-plus words posted during the ValuesJam. Drawing on this analysis, the results of pre- and post-jam surveys, and a full reading of the raw transcripts, a small team, with input from Palmisano, arrived at a revised set of new corporate values.

Robert will share what the implications of this ValuesJam were for IBM’s employees, and the subsequent actions taken to prioritise the hundreds of ideas that came out of it, to reinforce how they should be living by those values.

Robert Orth joined IBM Australia in 1982. Prior to joining IBM, he was a serving officer (Flight Lieutenant) in the Royal Australian Air Force.

He is currently the Director of Human Resources, IBM Australia/New Zealand. In this position he is responsible for the Human Resources functions across the business including: learning, professional and management development, leadership development, organisational culture and change, performance management, compensation and benefits, Occupational Health and Safety, Diversity, Workforce Management, Recruiting, employee relations and industrial relations.

He was appointed to this position in March 2002 having previously held the role of Director of Talent for IBM Asia Pacific for 4 years. In his Asia Pacific role, Robert travelled widely across the Region and to Europe and the USA.

Over the past 22 years Robert has held various management positions in IBM; 16 years of these in line management positions in Sales and Marketing. He has also held a number of regional positions in Australia/New Zealand including responsibility for total business process re-engineering across the company, customer service and quality, strategic planning and direct marketing.

Robert has a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Diploma of Education, both from the University of Sydney.


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