Executive Spotlight: Mark Rosenstein, Associate Partner at IBM
Mark Rosenstein, associate partner at IBM, recently participated in an Executive Spotlight with the Potomac Officers Club to talk about the core values of his professional career and the elements that comprise his success strategy. Rosenstein’s public sector experience includes over 35 years of military service and spans multiple senior roles such as chief of staff for DISA. In the commercial world, Rosenstein has spent time at companies like CSRA, GDIT and Verizon prior to joining IBM.
What can you tell us about your background and how you’ve been able to adapt to the ever-changing challenges of the federal landscape over the course of your career?
As most retired senior military members will express, we are developed to continuously adjust to change in leadership, mission, location and organizational structure, among other spaces. We are also developed to work as a team and collaborate when time is available, often spending one third of our senior time for initial planning and giving two thirds back to tactical leaders for their planning. Most importantly, we are developed to make decisions to keep mission objectives moving forward. We are also dedicated to our people and their families, and we strive to set them up for success in terms of guidance and resources.
When did you decide to pursue a career in the federal landscape and what were the key tasks that you wanted to complete? Any bigger goals you still want to accomplish?
With the encouragement of friends, I decided to join industry after retiring in 2017. At first, I was not sure what to expect, or what type of position I should seek. Through a network of industry colleagues, I gradually became familiar with three specific workspaces: account management, business development (BD) and program management. In terms of account management and BD, I realized that I already had the skills for success. For program management, I realized that I had the skills but only after I became PMP certified. One space I never had a desire to work in was pure sales. For various reasons, a sales position was not the right fit for me.
The key drivers for me to work in industry were: paying it forward to help industry better support DOD clients; providing leadership that I had learned throughout my military career; employing the experience and education that I had accrued over many years, and perhaps most importantly; taking care of people in the same way that I did when I was serving in the military.
My only professional goal is to do the best job that I can for my employer and its people. My primary motivator is job fulfillment, as opposed to the more traditional aspects of compensation.
What do you believe are your core strengths as a leader and what lessons taught you the most about driving success?
My core strengths clearly came from my service in the U.S. Army, coupled with my higher education. I believe my strengths include: being an accomplished and resourceful executive leader with a distinguished 35+ year corporate and military career; a proven supervisory and management record in the most demanding technology environments; an ability to advance cost-effective, scalable solutions through systems architecture, IT infrastructure, program management, deployment and support and corporate technology strategy; an ability to quickly learn organizational structure, build alliances and gauge shifting operating factors to improve bottom-line performance; the skill to analyze business requirements and translate needs into a comprehensive strategy, road map and implementation plan; strong technology lifecycle management skills to understand requirements analysis through user acceptance and operational support; a proven ability to diagnose, analyze and resolve complex client technical issues; the ability to express calm leadership in critical crisis situations; dynamic and creative strategy and problem-solving skills; and strong communication skills that enhance relationships and help to negotiate and interact across all levels of an organization to achieve consensus among stakeholders.
The lessons that have influenced me the most in terms of achieving success are: taking care of and mentoring people (trust is hard to gain and easy to lose); understanding mission/requirements/demands/etc. and being able to articulate them in the form of strategy/plans/actions; understanding organizational behavior above personalities and analyzing how organizational structures can advance or inhibit performance; organization, or the ability to simultaneously manage many “crystal balls”; and relationship building and networking.
If your career came to an end tomorrow, what would you say have been the most significant accomplishments of your career? Where do you feel you made the most impact?
If my second career came to an end today, my most significant accomplishments would be the client and strategic alliance relationships that I built over many years as well as the strategic roadmap that I would leave in place for my colleagues to continue to implement. Together, my legacy is the relationships and strategy that become an intangible and enduring value to my employer and its members, many of whom I also mentored over time.
I believe I made the most impact in mentoring young professionals and making time to help senior leaders better understand the strategic and complex DoD environment in terms of technology, emerging capabilities and limited resources.
What are the core values that you believe are essential to build a great team and establish a foundation to drive success in such a competitive industry?
The core values that I believe are most important and essential to building a great team are pretty simple: always be forthright and honest with leadership and team members; build trust by taking care of people; make time to coach, train, teach and mentor; set realistic key performance metrics; run towards responsibility; take time to build a strong foundation to operate and plan from; and be humble.
Category: Member News
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