Thursday, July 20, 2006

Who Says Elephants Cant Dance ?

Just finished reading Who Says Elephants Cant Dance by Louis Gartner who led IBM for over a decade during which period the company witnessed a historic turnaround , rediscovered itself and regained industry leadership.

The book is a classic when it comes to corporate strategy, IBM once the industry leader ceded its advantage in the personal computer space to Intel and Microsoft by promoting an open standard, unknowingly they created competition for their flagship mainframe business. It was widely believed at one time that the PC revolution would wipe out the mainframe technology and with it IBM.

Gerstener who was a complete stranger to the world of high technology, changed the situation simply by taking an objective look at what was wrong with IBM as a company.

Three important messages from the book :

1.The power within :

Almost the entire management team the managed the turnaround were long time IBMers, the new CEO only made them realize their potential and the same team that had been written off actually staged a turnaround for the company. That’s the power of effective leadership..

2.The power of integration :

Although IBM was a giant with global presence, there was almost no coordination between the divisions and geographies. At times the same customers had to deal with different IBMs when it came to different regions or services. Gerstener created the idea of One IBM without hierarchies and the giant size soon turned to its advantage.


With the focus now shifting to services IBM had to work more closely with competitors like Oracle, SAP or Microsoft so as to offer better value to the customer. So although they were now competing at one level , at another IBM consultants were helping their client implement Oracle or Microsoft suites… to succeed organizations have to evolve with times and change with changing customer tastes.

A must read for all management professionals …hats off to Mr.Garstener….


At 8:47 PM, Blogger Enakshi said...

Yeh book kahan milega?
"Co-opetition", does that word really exist?

At 10:57 AM, Blogger samir said...

The book is available in the LRC, thats where I got it from...

The word "Co-opetition" owes its origins to Adam Berdemberger's book of the same name. That book is about strategic games and makes a good read too...

At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just finished reading Who Says Elephants Cant Dance by Louis Gartner..." guess you meant Louis V. Gerstner

At 9:35 PM, Blogger samir said...

Thats right its Louis V Gerstner


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