Leading With Impact: Amsterdam

Hi everyone,

One of the best bits of being on a grad scheme is all the training opportunities and IBM is no exception. Last week I got to spend three days in Amsterdam with two of them being full days of Leading with Impact training.

A lot of my original grad intake were on this training which was especially nice as I hadn’t seen them for a while as we had been spread out across the country on our individual projects!

I flew over to Amsterdam on the monday and luckily met one of my fellow grads getting the same flight as me which was nice. Once we’d touched down and checked into our (business class!) rooms we had the afternoon to explore around which was amazing!



I hadn’t been to Amsterdam for several years so it was a really great to get to go back and look around and I wish I could have stayed up longer!

The course itself began on the Wednesday morning in the conference center at the Radisson Blu hotel.  We began with individual presentations to see people’s natural styles, strengths and weaknesses- it also worked as a good ice breaker for the group.

Throughout the first day we learnt about different leadership styles. We spent time discussing what the pros and cons were for various styles and the situations each might best be applied in. The course involved a lot of audience participation and group work and ensured that everything sank in.


In preparation for the course we’d all had some reading to do plus a strength finding test (https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com) to learn out top 5 strengths. These we compared and discussed in the session – unsurprisingly there were a lot of ‘achievers’ in the room! I was surprised with my results and enjoyed learning about what they actually meant and how they fitted with others.

The day was rounded off with a group dinner in the hotel and then heading back out to explore Amsterdam more!


On the second day we made more use of roleplay and considered the application of leadership styles to tricky people and situations. We were split into groups of 5/6 and one person was a leader joining a failing project and the rest of the group took on different personas of the existing team. It was a great exercise and a good opportunity to review each other.

After this we had another teamwork task- this time it was to design and build a bridge for a city- bearing in mind stakeholders and then making your case to them.  This was a time limited task and required strong group work skills and a good sense of project direction (and a few papercuts). There were some debatable bridges produced but it was great fun and a good learning experience in terms of requirements and stakeholders.


To wrap up the course we discussed one of the most important aspects of being an IBM-er –Eminence.  Having Eminence is the goal of every IBM employee – to become well known and respected for your unique skills or personality. We all had to consider what our best skills were and when we’d gained eminence so far on our careers.  A main focus was to become well known for one thing and be known for your specialization rather than try to do everything a bit.  For example, I have a background in SAS technology and did a placement there so that’s an unusual skill to work on and develop within IBM!

Overall, it was a full on and enjoyable training course, filled with a lot of self discovery and teamwork and I know I came out feeling like I understood how to work better on IBM projects and understanding more about how I personally worked.



Until the next time!

-Ruth Websdale


Technical Consultant @IBM



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