The traditional lament of corporate communicators is that it can be challenging to play a meaningful role in the management of the company. But IBM's Jon Iwata, who reports to CEO Sam Palmisano, has posed a leadership model for navigating the corporate terrain by taking on responsibilities not traditionally doled out to a PR team. As a result, he has positioned both himself and his group5firmly at the center of the action. One of the entry points for communications leadership was Iwata's taking control of the corporate intranet, which had languished in the IT function previously. The intranet was the forerunner to what is seen as one of the most sophisticated blogging programs of any corporation, also under Iwata's purview, and the IBM "innovation jams," which bring together employees, clients, and other stakeholders around the world in an interactive forum to assess what is next for the company. Iwata has been slowly taking a more public role recently, where normally he prefers a lower profile. There are many keen to hear what he has to say.
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