(Forgive the date/time stamp...I inadvertently set the date of my Friday evening post to Monday...thus this time stamp is done only to make this entry chronologically later than the last one)

I'm in the Boston area today for the first day of my new job.  As I mentioned when announcing on Friday evening, the last few weeks have been pretty exciting as I competed for and was offered this new role.  The offer itself, though, came in an amazing and unexpected way.

At the Lotus Leadership Alliance (LoLA) event two weeks ago in Florida, Lotus brand General Manager Bob Picciano sent out a note to all the IBMers at the event, setting the tone for the coming three days.  He said, essentially, you are here to talk to customers and partners, not to each other.  I thought this was a powerful reminder of why we do face-to-face events with customers.  As such, on the first night there, I stood a mere five feet from Picciano at one point...but chose not to do the instinctive political thing and go over and introduce myself (as we had never met face to face).  I was talking with customers, after all, and it was interesting stuff.

On the second night of the event, I was sitting at dinner with Bob Balaban of Binary Tree.  Bob Picciano appeared at our table, and I quietly commented to Balaban that I had not yet met him.  Balaban said, oh, I've been with him twice today, do you want me to introduce you?  I figured this was within the bounds of our directive.  So, when Bob B introduced me to Bob P, Picciano immediately asked if we could speak privately for a moment.  I found this a bit surprising, I mean, hey, we just met!  

Within about a minute, it was clear what the personal conversation was about.  Bob Picciano was offering me the role of Director of End-User Messaging and Collaboration.  With no sucking up intended, this was a very classy move.  Picciano realized that the opportunity to make the offer face-to-face was fleeting, and in these days of a mobile, distributed workforce, somewhat rare.  As John Allesio, VP of Services for Lotus, said to me later, "You'll always remember this offer"...such a strong impact.

In the five minute conversation, Picciano outlined some specific goals he has for me around the role.  As music to my ears, he said he wants me to increase our competitive stance and have me focus more on that from a product perspective.  Recalling some of the efforts we've put into competitive messages in the last few years, I asked Bob for help -- saying that I will need him to "knock some heads around" to  get past some of the internal and external challenges we've had being competitive in the past.

Picciano's reply said all I needed to know: "When we're done, there won't be any heads left".

I still have those Lotus yellow boxing gloves hanging in my office.  I think I might be needing them more often.

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