commentswhat is your comment on this article on Lou Gerstner: http://www.forbes.com/2002/11/11/cx_ld_1112gerstner.html
The kind of comments I guess your tutor is looking for will be based on leadership strategy and approaches. Clearly what is of interest is the way that one visionary and charismatic individual such as Gerstner is able to step into a company like IBM and transform it through his strength of personality and drive. You might want to think about whether there are any problems with something like this occurring, and in particular whether having a key individual at the head of an organisation is good in terms of long term planning and stability (think of how critical Steve Jobs was for Apple).
I'm struck by how little context is offered as to what was going on in the computer world in 1992 and during the time that Gerstner was making his big decision.
This is a quite narrow book review. It makes me guess that the reviewer couldn't be bothered to finish the book.
Anyway, this is an article about Management, not High Finance. Or it is about the relationship and/or mixed identity shared between the two. I expected to read about stock sales, consolidations, etc. Instead, the article focuses almost exclusively on one management policy meant to shape employee attitude.
Here's a working link:
The article was particularly interesting to me because of its emphasis on how one person could save a huge company that was massively failing. I tend to think of corporations as gigantic bureacracies (which they are), but this article reminded me that the person at the top has an extremely important job, and that finding the right person is crucial.
So much of business and business success seems to be based on image, confidence and fear. So you bring in someone like Steve Jobs, who was certainly incredibly talented and a visionary, but the mere fact that he was taking over the company convinced some investors to buy Apple stock, and stabilized a rapidly deteriorating company. Sometimes all a CEO does is give a company a public image of wisdom, savvy, and vision, and that can be enough to turn a failing company around.
The most interesting point here is that the author says that IBM is a unique company with unique problems. Hence, the challenges, complexity and culture of IBM will be different from other companies. This means that the fixes the author applied are unlikely to be easily transferred to other companies. This is a a great insight. We need to use critical thinking skills in all circumstances and not seek to use the same solutions all the time. What worked once may not work again.
I agree with post #6, it seems that Gerstner was trying to create a more streamlined IBM, divested of outdated program initiatives, unified in message and mission, and, unfortunately, without thousands of employees that lost their jobs to balance the books. My comment on this article is that I usually take the autobiographies of public people with a massive grain of salt. Not to sound cynical, but obviously Gerstner has an interest in portraying himself in a certain light.
One interesting thought is that at the time, computers were still an infant industry; home computers were the expensive exception instead of the common rule. The success of IBM possibly led to overconfidence, and indeed they were overshadowed later by dozens of smaller companies. I can't think of the last time I saw an IBM branded computer. It's possible that Gerstner was unable to see the big picture, and so his focus left them behind as the industy moved forward.
I tend to question the fact that IBM's problems were those which were completely unique to IBM. The article states that Gerstner does not think that what he did could be used in other businesses. While I think he might like to believe that, I believe that some could tweak his ideas to make the,m work for their own failing businesses.