Book review – Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? Inside IBM’s Historic Turnaround by Louis V. Gerstrner Jr.
- Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
- Genre: Non-Fiction
- Subject: Business, Memoir, IBM,
Louis Gestner’s compelling memoir takes you to the time when IBM’s future was bleak. massive losses in revenue and in market share over a short time threatened the very survival of this once magnificent company. It seemed that IBM’s demise was not only unavoidable but also just a matter of time.
At such a time Louis Gestner takes the reigns as CEO. Although he did not have a ton of experience in a technology company, Gestner brought with him years of operational experience from his tenure at American Express and Nabisco.
His common-sense business decisions and stellar leadership eventually turn the company around. Along with it changed the destiny of the army of IBM employees around the world.
From my perspective, the fundamental strength in his leadership came from his willingness to embrace IBM for the magnate that it was instead of trying to break it up and convert it to several small business units that could compete with the software start-ups that were richly abounding in Silicon Valley during the early 1990s.
Every other executive of Gestner’s time supported the decision to break this large corporation down into several business units. Contrary to this, Louis decided, to keep the company together and leverage it’s size as it’s biggest strength. This to me was an act of courage and integrity. This decision helped his technology giant not only survive but also thrive is history.
I hugely enjoyed the beginning and most of the middle of this book. Towards the end, the book took an in-depth look into IBM’s technology portfolio and I lost interest in much of that discussion. Yet overall it is a great book and several management insights come to the surface from Louis Gestner’s initiatives over his term.
A good read for someone trying to understand the workings of a large corporation.
Buy it here: