Shape your personal narrative: BlackBerry boss’s mantra

January 23rd, 2009 - 12:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Jan 23 (IANS) Even as he faces a record $100-million penalty from market regulators, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) co-CEO Jim Balsillie has been honoured with Canada’s Outstanding Business Leader Award.Accepting the award from his hometown Wilfrid Laurier University at Waterloo near here, Balsillie Thursday gave a lesson in personal and career wisdom to aspiring leaders.

“It is very, very, very important, I believe, to shape your personal narrative - this is who I am, this is how I see myself, this is why I am, and how I’m going to be who I’m going to be,” the billionaire co-CEO told business students.

He said self-knowledge, perseverance and a positive attitude will shape your life and `personal narrative’ help you ride out challenges in life and take advantage of opportunities.

“You create this frame, this way of seeing things, and it manifests in everything you do,” he said.

“Whenever you meet opportunities. More particularly, whenever you meet challenges in life, you go back to that narrative and that narrative will lead you through. It will be your anchor in the storm,” he said.

Narrating his own life story, the BlackBerry inventor said he is a tradesman’s son “who excelled at math, had big ambitions and always persevered”.

“I’m the quant-jock from Peterborough (his native place in Ontario province) who never gives up. That’s how I see myself; that’s my personal narrative.”

Referring to globalisation, he said the world’s economic integration continues to witness conflicts as international laws and institutions have failed to meet the challenges of an increasingly global world.

“One lesson to draw from these changes is that we need investment and innovation in governance, domestic, regional and global, to create the institutions and the structures, and the rules and laws that support the inevitable globalisation of trade but also address the pressing issues of our time,” he said.

“Many of the most pressing problems are global in scope and require global solutions. But the policy authority and resources for tackling these problems remains vested in states - that is the case for climate change and terrorism.

“And, there is a disconnect between the distribution of authority in existing international institutions and the distribution of military and economic power in the world,” he said.

Balsillie, who has spent millions of dollars to create the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, in the city of BlackBerry, said he wants to develop “a unique centre of excellence in policy-oriented education” to meet critical global challenges.

In the end, he said: “Make no mistake, ideas matter.”

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