Gerstners Vision Got IBM on Course
For someone who once scoffed at the idea of needing a vision for the company, IBM Chairman Lou Gerstner is leaving Big Blue with a mighty big vision.For someone who once scoffed at the idea of needing a vision for the company, IBM Chairman Lou Gerstner is leaving Big Blue with a mighty big vision. In the history of corporate success stories where a floundering giant is saved by an outsider, Gerstners success at getting IBM on an even keel and headed in the right direction will be difficult to top. Rather than looking at trying to acquire his way to success or spending a lot of time with the media talking about a winning plan, Gerstner came up with a simple, but not an easy, plan. He seemed to spend the bulk of his early days at IBM flying around to customers asking them what they needed. Once he had that information, he went about restructuring the company to deliver on those needs.
What he apparently heard from those customers was the desire to buy services from a big, professional company that would provide the best products regardless of whether those products were produced by the company. IBMs service organization first said it would make decisions based on best-of-breed products rather than those necessarily carrying the companys label and then, to everyones surprise, actually delivered on its promise. No easy task in a company that always assumed it had the best product.