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Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround
     

Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround

4.4 21
by Louis V.
 

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In 1990, IBM had its most profitable year ever. By 1993, the computer industry had changed so rapidly the company was on its way to losing $16 billion and IBM was on a watch list for extinction — victimized by its own lumbering size, an insular corporate culture, and the PC era IBM had itself helped invent.

Then Lou Gerstner was brought in to run IBM. Almost

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Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
While this is a good book of an historic turnaround, there is little one can take away and apply. Between Gerstner's excessive modesty and the way he focuses more on his actions than the reasoning behind them, there is not much to learn here. Nonetheless, it is an enjoyable story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. Lou has invaluable wisdom to share with all of us. I highly recommend it for managers at all levels! Dr. Michael Beitler, Author of 'Strategic Organizational Change'
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book can be used as a HR playbook. It's clearly written and provides useful employment lessons. IBMers, unlike their foreign counterparts, clearly were too comfortable with entitlements. For example, the Family Medical Leave Act, the ADEA, and the Americans With Disabilities Act are remnants from a past era, when white collar Americans felt it was okay to be sick while a company looked after you. Lou taught IBM management that promised company & government entitlements could be eliminated through HR Quality initiatives like CAN-MAN and Just-in-Time Employment (modeled after KAN-BAN and JIT Delivery, respectively) Existing programs like Just-in-Time Contracting were also incrementally improved over time to take advantage of favorable tax, labor, and H-1B laws. Overall, this book is an excellent guide for modern HR policies. Lou provides the definitive playbook for the millenium. Especially recommended for the HR professional.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I left IBM a year before Lou entered. I certainly can understand the problems he describes...he communicates so clearly and fairly what he found and how it was fixed or at least improved! Should be required reading for every business school graduate!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is NOT very exciting because Gerstner wrote it himself, but there are many lessons to be learned from what he did at IBM. I liked more the new book Turnaround: How Carlos Ghosn Rescued Nissan. It was detailed and interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in five days. Loved it! Being an IBMer since August 2000, I have benefitted from Lou's - and his team's - perseverance without having to experience the painful years B.L. (Before Lou). Interestingly, I can still see the "old" IBM through the "new" facelift - we are still quite a bit internally process-oriented, but no longer do we sacrifice the view from the customer's side for the sake of it. We still value the "individual first" ideal that Lou speaks about, but countless successful teaming efforts are publicly acclaimed every quarter. We remain foremost an R&D company, but we have peppered the IBM landscape with business-focused solutions. As an IBMer, I can attest to Lou's lasting mark on the company. Phrases and words like "e-business" and "Win, Execute, Team" are firm parts of my corporate speech patterns, believe it or not. One of my long-time-IBMer colleagues put it quite well when he described what customers get with IBM today: "It may not be easy, things may not work like they're supposed to, and we may have rough roads throughout the project, but we will eventually get everything working and make the customer happy. That's what people get when they buy IBM." I couldn't agree more. Thanks, Lou.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I joined IBM two months before Gerstner and it needed a swift kick in the pants. I had a unique perspective coming out of graduate school because my dad work for Pan Am and we all know they went belly up. I was never going to depend on a company for my well being. Go to work do a great job and most of all save on your own and keep your skills current. I sensed a tremendous amount of entitlement amongst the employee ranks. I would have left in under a year if gerstner hadn't planted his foot in the rear end of this company. He made some decisions that many employees feel were unfair and unjust but if you look at our benefits package and perk system compared to many of our peers in industry it is still one of the best. We have more employees at IBM now then when he joined. Even after the big layoff. He was good for IBM. Is he a god of business? No... but all in all he was good for IBM.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
This great book validates the value of the free enterprise system ¿ as if it needed. (Now if someone can do the same for Worldcom)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just finished the book....outstanding. All IBMers should read this book and realize how close it came to bankruptcy and appreciate all the cost cutting activities that occured to save many of their jobs. All stockholders should be grateful to Lou Gerstner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I received my copy and have read the first 50 pages. Outstanding, insightful book. Can't wait to finish it
Guest More than 1 year ago
This remarkable story about IBM is truely a indepth and interesting perspective on corporate America. It shows the inside story of how a mouse became an Elephant in only a few decades. Anyone looking for inspiration and a remarkable story look no further. This book and a book called Dreams: Gateway to the True Self are going to be my holiday gifts of choice. Having read this book Dreams:... I have been moved to find out the goals I've been waiting and waiting to complete my whole life. I've always told myself I was going to write a novel and this book showed me that there was no reason to wait any longer. Try it out you and your family will love Dreams: Gateway to the True Self.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I haven't read the book but I just caught Mr. Grestner on Charlie Rose (11/12/2002) If his words in print are anything like his words on Rose's show. He was Excellent!!! That's the kind of guy that just on his words alone can make gold and make you look at yourself before you look at others. He knows HIS area of expertise - LEADERSHIP and what people need to be productive when things stuck in a rut. Excellent chat with Rose, I can't say enough about that. This is a must read for every Human Resources Department and every company executive management team with a high turnover rate.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I haven't read the book. I'm going on what Don Imus says. This sounds like, almost, an exciting read. Imus says that anyone in any kind of business, say a pizza joint, can learn from Gerstner. And if one can learn something practical from this book, I want to read it.