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Book Review: Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? by Louis V. Gerstner Jr.

Introduction of Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround Book Reviews

Book Description

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 everyone watching the rapid demise of this American icon presumed Gerstner had joined IBM to preside over its continued dissolution into a confederation of autonomous business units. This strategy, well underway when he arrived, would have effectively eliminated the corporation that had invented many of the industry's most important technologies.

Instead, Gerstner took hold of the company and demanded the managers work together to re-establish IBM's mission as a customer-focused provider of computing solutions. Moving ahead of his critics, Gerstner made the hold decision to keep the company together, slash prices on his core product to keep the company competitive, and almost defiantly announced, "The last thing IBM needs right now is a vision."

Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? tells the story of IBM's competitive and cultural transformation. In his own words, Gerstner offers a blow-by-blow account of his arrival at the company and his campaign to rebuild the leadership team and give the workforce a renewed sense of purpose. In the process, Gerstner defined a strategy for the computing giant and remade the ossified culture bred by the company's own success.

The first-hand story of an extraordinary turnaround, a unique case study in managing a crisis, and a thoughtful reflection on the computer industry and the principles of leadership, Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? sums up Lou Gerstner's historic business achievement. Taking readers deep into the world of IBM's CEO, Gerstner recounts the high-level meetings and explains the pressure-filled, no-turning-back decisions that had to be made. He also offers his hard-won conclusions about the essence of what makes a great company run.

In the history of modern business, many companies have gone from being industry leaders to the verge of extinction. Through the heroic efforts of a new management team, some of those companies have even succeeded in resuscitating themselves and living on in the shadow of their former stature. But only one company has been at the pinnacle of an industry, fallen to near collapse, and then, beyond anyone's expectations, returned to set the agenda. That company is IBM.

Lou Gerstener, Jr., served as chairman and chief executive officer of IBM from April 1993 to March 2002, when he retired as CEO. He remained chairman of the board through the end of 2002. Before joining IBM, Mr. Gerstner served for four years as chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco, Inc. This was preceded by an eleven-year career at the American Express Company, where he was president of the parent company and chairman and CEO of its largest subsidiary. Prior to that, Mr. Gerstner was a director of the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Co., Inc. He received a bachelor's degree in engineering from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

From Publishers Weekly

Gerstner quarterbacked one of history's most dramatic corporate turnarounds. For those who follow business stories like football games, his tale of the rise, fall, and rise of IBM might be the ultimate slow-motion replay. He became IBM's CEO in 1993 when the gargantuan company was near collapse. The book's opening section snappily reports Gerstner's decisions in his first 18 months on the job-the critical "sprint" that moved IBM away from the brink of destruction. 

The following sections describe the marathon fight to make IBM once again " a company that mattered." Gerstner writes most vividly about the company's culture. On his arrival, "there was a kind of hothouse quality to the place. It was like an isolated tropical ecosystem that had been cut off from the world for too long. As a result, it had spawned some fairly exotic life-forms that were to be found nowhere else." 

One of Gerstner's first tasks was to redirect the company's attention to the outside world, where a marketplace was quickly changing and customers felt largely ignored. He succeeded mightily. Upon his retirement this year, IBM was undeniable "a company that mattered." Gerstner's writing occasionally is myopic. 

For example, he makes much of his own openness to input from all levels of the company, only to mock an earnest (and overlong) employee e-mail (reprinted in its entirety) that was critical of his performance. Also, he includes a bafflingly long and dull appendix of his collected communications to IBM employees. Still, the book is a well-rendered self-portrait of a CEO who made spectacular change on the strength of personal leadership.

From AudioFile

The former CEO of IBM tells the story of his company's amazing comeback from 1993 to 2001. Challenged by customers and employees worldwide and product-service lines that defied integration, Gerstner implemented solutions to turn the company into the integrated business giant it is today. 

Edward Herrmann's pacing and understated connection with the material in this memoir make the audio seem compact and relaxed. The writing is also outstanding, lacking excessive pride or self-congratulation, so you don't have to elbow past the author's ego to absorb the many CEO -level insights offered here. 

An essential volume for anyone interested in technology, large organizations, or IBM's miraculous rebirth under Gerstner's leadership.


Book Dimension

Publisher: Harper Business; First Edition
Language: English
Hardcover: 384 pages
Paperback: 304 pages

About the author of Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?

Lou Gerstner, Jr., served as chairman and chief executive officer of IBM from April 1993 until March 2002, when he retired as CEO. He remained chairman of the board through the end of 2002. Before joining IBM, Mr. Gerstner served for four years as chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco, Inc. 

This was preceded by an eleven-year career at the American Express Company, where he was president of the parent company and chairman and CEO of its largest subsidiary. Prior to that, Mr. Gerstner was a director of the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Co., Inc. He received a bachelor's degree in engineering from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Who Says Elephants Can not Dance Quotes

The best company in a certain industry generally constructs a business process that its competitors cannot match.—— Quoted from page 187

The IT industry is almost absurdly controlled by technology. IT companies really believe in their whimsical declarations, and all companies are pursuing the next huge technological wave every moment. —— Quoted from page 208

If you have to do something very bad, do it as soon as possible and make sure that everyone knows what you did and why you did it. When you wait for the time to be ripe to launch a big move, whether it is delaying the problem, hiding the problem, or solving part of the problem piecemeal, there will always be negative effects. I believe that the best way is to quickly put the problem behind and move on.—— Quoted from page 55

If you don't like pain, the only way is to pass the pain on to your competitors. Because they are the ones who rob you of the market, the ones who rob you of your shareholder rights, and the ones who make you unable to support your children and grandchildren to go to college. Therefore, the only solution is to pass the pain on to your competitors and make IBM regain its success.—— Quoted from page 55





Who Says Elephants Can not Dance? Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround Book Reviews


"Who said elephants can't dance" summarizes

This is a classic book, one of the few classic autobiographical books! It is worth reading several or dozens of times. Although I did not have much insight in my first reading, it was not because of the lack of classics and excitement of the books, but because of my lack of competence and vision, because I had not reached a certain level, and I did not really think deeply. 

There are a lot of questions about the corporate strategy, but still, I can learn a lot about the responsibilities of being a leader, about the standards of the leader, about how to lead the thoughts, about the things worth noting in the work. I read from a superficial level, and learn from a narrow-angle, confined to a certain part of the thought, but this does not prevent the essence of it from flashing. 

I’m only thinking about some of the areas that made me feel. Of course, there are some excerpts of the content and classic sentences and practices. I pay more attention to the details of corporate culture and management, which may be very narrow. There is not much content at the corporate strategy level.


"Who said elephants can’t dance" sentence excerpt:

"This is not a question of whether an elephant can defeat an ant, it is a question of whether an elephant can dance, If elephants can dance, then ants must leave the stage." Gerstner did it!


Corporate Strategy: 

"Traditional IBM's services are completely linked to the product - more specifically, the product is the IBM logo... The traditional IBM service is an auxiliary and extension of its main product business." 

But from Danny's In the proposal, we know that the service Gerstner hopes is, "The company should obviously assume the task of providing customers with information technology services in all aspects, and it is to provide customers with such services on behalf of the interests of customers." 

This also means. When necessary, IBM’s business staff will recommend customers to use its competitors’ products. This is a very huge change for a company that is proud of its own products and has reached a degree of monopoly. This is not a very new point of view. At the same time, this is also a strategic change for IBM, from a high-tech company to a service-oriented company. 

Although “service-oriented companies are much more difficult to manage than other types of companies”, I believe this is the future world. The test companies must face.

"I strongly believe in the power of language. The way a company speaks to its different audiences is often more indicative of the company's view of itself. When I work in each company, I will try my best to pay attention to the company's voice. '——Follow the conversations between the company and all its important clients inside and outside the company. 

Moreover, I will also pay great attention to my own speech-whether it is written, electronic, or face-to-face, I will be very careful. "

"The most important thing I learned at McKinsey & Company is how to have a concrete understanding of the foundation of a company." From my current perspective, this is an analytical ability, a way of looking through the surface and thinking about the essence. 

As one of the most famous consulting companies in the world, McKinsey, I firmly believe in the importance of this ability. This also makes me feel the progress of my learning. In many cases, I do not have a good learning environment. It does not mean that our company is not doing well, but no matter how it is a state-owned enterprise and a world-leading global enterprise in terms of management, rational analysis. 

There are more than a few differences in cultural construction and employee training. These gaps make it difficult for us to have a systematic process of obtaining training, and it is also difficult for the surrounding environment to learn an advanced management method. 

Opportunities, more I can only accomplish through reading and thinking, and how effective this learning process that is out of practice and observation of reality can achieve is still difficult for me to determine. I need to explore more ways to find learning opportunities. Of course, I am not saying that the current company is not good. 

This is a question of pros and cons. There are advantages in state-owned enterprises and opportunities in foreign companies. I believe that working in a state-owned enterprise is not just a simple advantage such as stable work. ——This is just the most superficial thing.

At the same time, this is what I am going to pay attention to in 2007: the real improvement in ability, cultivation, and intelligence. A kind of deep improvement, not as vigorous as it seems, without turning the tide, or even without a glorious past. I work hard and study earnestly. 

Now I need this kind of accumulation, this kind of look. It seems a dull but indispensable accumulation. Now that I have a preliminary understanding of what I don't know, I must let myself know now. Perhaps this process will last for several years. Of course, it does not rule out the need to do something vigorous occasionally during the period, but I believe this accumulation will bring long-term benefits.


"Who Says Elephants Can't Dance" Corporate Structure and System Process

"So I started trying to establish an organization in which both a hierarchy and people at all levels in the organization are allowed to gather together to discuss solutions to problems." It's easier said than done. One thing that is difficult to do, especially in a long-standing and bureaucratic company like IBM. 

The long-term brilliance makes IBMers full of self-confidence and pride, and the bureaucratic atmosphere fills the company with the problems of self-government, decentralization, and independence. In such a corporate atmosphere, under such a management system, an "allowable hierarchy" is established. 

And at the same time allow people at all levels of the organization to jointly discuss solutions to problems" How difficult is an organization? He will directly contact the authority of the leaders of various departments (branch companies), directly invade the other side's "turf", and go directly to the IBM tradition. The only thing that amazes me is that Gerstner did it!

He introduced his management philosophy and management practice:

  • I will implement management in accordance with principles rather than procedures.
  • The market determines all our actions.
  • I am a person who deeply believes in quality, strong competitive strategy and planning, teamwork, performance pay system, and business ethics responsibility.
  • I am eager for those who can solve the problem and help solve the problem at the same time. I will expel those who are politicians.
  • I will devote myself to the formulation of the strategy. The task of implementing the strategy is your business. Just let me know the relevant information in an informal way, but don't hide the bad news-I hate accidents, don't try to lie in front of me, solve the problem outside the production line, don't bring the problem to the production line.
  • Move fast. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, and even making mistakes, we would rather be acting too fast than acting too slow.
  • I rarely have the concept of hierarchy. No matter who it is, and regardless of his position, as long as it helps to solve the problem, everyone should discuss it together. It is necessary to reduce committee membership and various meetings to a minimum. The abolition of the committee decision-making system allows us to have more frank and straightforward exchanges.
  • I am not proficient in technology, I need to learn, but don't expect me to be a technical expert. The person in charge of the branch must be able to explain various business terms for me.

"Who said "Elephants can’t dance" principled management

" In an organization whose organizational procedures have become unconstrained by its source and content, and the organization’s purpose has been compiled to replace personal responsibility, the first task you face is to be comprehensive. Erase the process itself so that the entire closed system can breathe fresh air."

"We started this transformation work by stating the principles. Why should there be principles? I think all high-performance companies are Leadership and management are conducted through principles rather than procedures. Organizational decision-making should be made by leaders who understand the main driving force of business success. 

Then, these leaders can also apply these principles intelligently, flexibly and in accordance with local conditions according to specific circumstances. Apply to practice."

In the beginning, Gerstner established 8 principles:

  • The market is the driving force behind all our actions.
  • In essence, we are a technology company, a technology company pursuing high quality.
  • Our most important success criteria are customer satisfaction and the realization of shareholder value.
  • We are an innovative company. We must minimize bureaucracy and always pay attention to productivity.
  • Never ignore our strategic vision.
  • There must be a sense of urgency in our thoughts and actions.
  • Outstanding and dedicated employees will be omnipotent, especially when they work together as a team.
  • We will pay attention to the needs of all employees and the needs of all communities where our business can be carried out.
"These principles are an important start-not only in defining the primary task of the new IBM, but also an important initial challenge to the entire process management philosophy. However, if we cannot find a good way to inject these principles into the DNA of employees, These important initial efforts will be difficult to reap. 

So what is the leverage? What can a CEO or a governor or university president do to change people's attitudes, behaviors, and ways of thinking? Of course? Different people have different motivations when doing different things. Some people do it for money, some people do it for progress, and some people do it for recognition. 

For some people, the most effective motivation is fear— -Or anger; but for others, it doesn’t work; some people value the gains in the process of doing things, or the opportunity to see the specific effects caused by the products they make. Most people may be Seeing that their products are gradually aging has aroused their enthusiasm for change; there are still many people who are inspired by the long-term plan to initiate change. 

In the past 10 years, I have used the above-mentioned power levers to promote IBM Management reform."

At the same time, employees really want to know how far they can become senior managers. For this reason, the "IBM leadership model" emerged. 

These standards are:

  • Focus on winning the market: Focus on customers Insight; innovative thinking; motivation to achieve goals.
  • Ability to execute quickly: team leader; outspoken; team spirit; decisiveness.
  • Sustainability: develop organizational skills; education/cultivation; work dedication.
  • Core characteristics: enthusiasm for the business.
"All senior managers, including those who report directly to me, must learn for 3 days-during these 3 days, they will work with well-trained consultants to understand how they are at the same time in terms of leadership Look at them and make a personal plan to improve leadership skills."

At the same time, Gerstner thought more about the principles and made improvements. "I need to adopt new principles and let these principles take root in the hearts of all IBM employees. To this end, these principles need to be simplified and incorporated into employees' daily work and behavior. 

Since what people do is not what you do. What you expect is what you want to check. Then I must develop a method to measure the effect of people's actions." In the end, Gerstner simplified the principle into three words: strive to win; execute quickly; and team spirit.

At the same time, in order to achieve the effect of measuring people’s actions, IBM has formed a new performance management system. “As part of our annual plan, all IBM employees must formulate personal commitments around these three aspects every year, and list the three aspects that will be used in the coming year. 

The actions required for each aspect of the task. Of course, the specific methods are determined by their respective types of work, but the overall direction must be unified. The commitment plan is an effective plan for mandatory implementation, and the corresponding performance will become The key determinants of employee appraisal wages and activity wages. 

Of course, taking action ultimately falls on personal leadership abilities—individuals include not only themselves, but also the willingness to throw away old frameworks, willingness to cooperate, and hope to shape the achievements of IBM’s new cultural model. Thousands of IBMers."


"Who said elephants can’t dance" thinking about processes and corporate rules

"bureaucracy" has become a derogatory term generally recognized by everyone. People have almost forgotten that “if there is no bureaucracy, no large enterprise can function. Employees in the bureaucracy, or staff in the management, can provide coordination between different assembly line organizations; and help establish and strengthen. 

The development strategy agreed by the whole company so that the company can avoid the occurrence of repeated organization, confusion, and conflicts; it can also provide highly specialized services, and this service cannot be replicated due to its cost or resource shortage Characteristics." 

Now the popular terms are "process", "corporate system", and culture. Although "culture" and "bureaucracy" seem to be irrelevant, when they are used as ideological content to regulate people's behavior, they have There is a certain overlap. 

At the same time, because I am not very clear about the scope and meaning of these four concepts, maybe I can be inspired by them after understanding them.

Seeing the term process, I can’t help asking myself, what is the role of the process? Every one of us knows that processes are important in today's enterprises, but where are their real meaning and real advantages? This is what I need to pay attention to. 

Because I haven’t paid much attention to issues related to corporate strategy, organizational structure, and process formation for the time being. The content in this area is not very clear, but I believe this is my next step after completing detailed management and "corporate culture" knowledge. 

A focus on management, because the process and organizational structure will largely determine the corporate culture and the way of teamwork, as well as the responsibilities of everyone in the company and team formation issues. I believe that the "company culture" As an entry point, would be more helpful for me to expand gradually. 

For the time being, the process is to ensure comprehensive consideration of issues, clear responsibilities, and a restraint mechanism for the company’s internal personnel, while “market-oriented” is a restraint on the company. It is self-evident which is more important. The only pity is that people Most of the time, more attention is paid to personal interests and rights rather than corporate interests.

"Most of the really important regulations are not written everywhere." This is a fundamental problem. No matter how specific and detailed our business processes and company articles of association are, if we fail to get the approval of business practitioners, there will be no If you can connect with the "hidden rules" in the company, then everything can only become empty talk. There are also some discussions in this area, which will be discussed in the "Corporate Culture Change" section.


"Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance" Change of corporate culture 

The change of corporate culture is an important part of Gerstner’s ten-year work for IBM. In his words: It is an aspect of the game it is the game itself! Fundamentally speaking, an organization is nothing but a collection of values ​​created by its employees. Vision, strategy, marketing, and financial management-actually all management systems. There are both good and bad sides. 

However, without these factors (the DNA of these organizations), then all organizations-whether in business, government, or any other field of human activity, will not be able to achieve long-term success.!" The management of people and the construction of corporate culture are the most important tasks of our company's leaders. If you can get outstanding people and manage outstanding people, then everything else can be achieved.

"Successful organizations will almost always establish a cultural atmosphere where the organizational culture can be more powerful. When the environment changes, the organizational culture can strengthen the organization’s more powerful factors. 

When the environment changes At this time, the organizational culture award is difficult to change. In fact, at this time, the organizational culture will become a huge obstacle to organizational transformation and changing its own adaptability." 

These are the "unspoken corporate rules" mentioned earlier. The great power of this unspoken rule will affect the way employees do things more than corporate rules and regulations and corporate processes. If this potential formal norm cannot be changed, the change of corporate culture can only be empty talk.

Gerstner summarized his values ​​in IBM as "excellence; high-quality customer service; respect for the individual". “Instituting these beliefs is not just a matter of putting up slogans in all offices (although these slogans are indeed everywhere). 

The beliefs should also be reflected in the company’s salary and benefits system, management system, and employee education and training programs, marketing, and customer support. They should be the basic purpose of the company-very few companies can implement these objectives so deeply and broadly. 

"These things are simple in principle, but in practice, But it’s very unusual, especially when IBM’s problem is often "almost all of them are intricately entangled with the good, smart, and creative views of those companies and their employees-this make any attempt to mobilize or even destroy them appear Very crazy."

In response to this situation, Gerstner put forward a very insightful point! It is the viewpoint I most agree with! (The same may be due to the illusion that I have been agreeing with this view all the time)-Grooming rather than controlling!
"All you can do is create conditions for the transformation of the company. You can provide encouragement; you can point out and clarify market reality and goals. 

But in the days to come, you must learn to trust. In fact, in the ultimate sense, Management is not about letting managers change the culture, but inviting employees to change the culture themselves... The hardest bone to chew at IBM is an invitation. Because IBM employees are accustomed to the hierarchical system, and they are not willing to work for the company. 

Take personal responsibility for affairs." "Fundamentally, the deepest goal of my cultural reform is to make IBM employees believe in themselves again—believe that they have the ability to make their own decisions and determine their own destiny; and, believe in them I already know what I should do. 

This is to free them from their frustrated fate, wake them up and let them know who they are-don’t forget, you are IBM! And let them be like a thirsty for knowledge Like the studious and active people, they can think and act in unity. 

In other words, while I try to make employees listen to me, understand where we need to go, and follow me in that direction, I must also teach them not to be blind followers. This is not a logical and linear challenge. It is a counter-intuitive, social-psychological suggestion-centered, and perceptual thing, not a rational thing."

Cultural change is important ." One point (because I am not sure whether this is the most important point, but in my opinion, it is the most important point) is to create a management team that the CEO can trust. "Selecting people I can trust is crucial.... …Building a management team is actually a daily work that needs to be carried out on an individual basis and on a business field basis.” 

This is a process of knowing people. Forgetting to use the book’s mention that “managers must choose people on their own Work in progress", which requires the integration of many abilities, and is an ability that I urgently need to improve.

After Gerstner abolished IBM's traditional "management committee", he formed a CEC, and in order to avoid making the mistake of the "management committee" again, he clearly stated that "CEC is not allowed to do the following: it will not accept the problem of solving problems. 

Entrustment cannot exercise representation rights or make decisions on behalf of business departments. It only focuses on cross-departmental policy issues.” I don’t understand this very well, and I need to understand it step by step.

"If there is no CEO who has been committed to face-to-face communication with employees for many years, and uses plain, easy-to-understand and persuasive language to persuade employees and get them to act, then the company will not achieve fundamental reforms.

This means that at some point, I have to grab the microphone from the heads of the business units who have strong control and communication with the "own people", and tell these persons in charge that they are in contact with When employees communicate, how to establish their priorities, tone of voice, and personal image... For this, we must first understand our company as a complete company, a company with consistent thinking guidelines. 

The only person in this company who can communicate and communicate with employees in this way is the CEO." This is a prerequisite, because only by letting everyone in the company realize that the company does not have their own territory, but as a whole, all actions should be for the benefit of the company in order to implement more ideas. This is The most basic requirement.

In terms of system, Gerstner made a great change in salary, which is the performance pay system. Salary in many cases determines the way and motivation of company employees to work. If you say one thing, the salary system reflects another, and the effect is self-evident.

"Publicly acknowledge the crisis you are facing."-A simple truth, it is the same for companies and individuals, but that sentence, but unfortunately not many people have done it. There are many reasons for this. There are face-saving and institutional problems. As a leader or a company manager, you should pave the way for subordinates in the system. This is what the leader must do.

In terms of performance, "I think the most interesting thing in the IBM culture is that everyone in the company, any person, team, and any business unit likes to say no. Respect for the individual has evolved into a common sense of non-cooperative behavior. Sexual institutional support... Usually, the expression of an uncooperative attitude is to remain silent. 

This silence will appear during decision-making, but when the decision-making meeting is over, these business units that are accustomed to using the non-cooperative philosophy will Will return to my laboratory or office and continue to do what I am willing to do as if the decision. 

I just made does not exist at all! "Think about how many of these things happen around us? Of course, we are not derived from the "non-cooperative" culture, but the so-called face problem, or some other reasons, but the performance is the same, although the solution is different. 

In this regard, Gerstner proposed the necessity of “cooperation”: “In the same company, our various departments are both competitors and partners. But in order to achieve this goal, you must be having a mature understanding of who is, where your deep interests lie, and what is meaningless is not to turn you into an exquisite chameleon.”

In terms of market-driven, Gerstner proposed that IBM should “take the market by the market”. As a driving force instead of focusing on internal, process-driven enterprises."

"I have had a lot of experience in reversing the decline of the company. The first thing I learned is: if you have to do something very bad, do it as soon as possible and make sure everyone knows what you are doing and why you are doing it. 

When you are waiting for the time to be ripe to launch a big move, whether it is delaying the problem, hiding the problem, or partially solving a problem piecemeal, it will always bring negative effects. I believe that the best way is to quickly Put the problem behind your head and move on." 

In fact, whether it is to "reverse the company's decline" or solve any problems in our work, I think this view is very reasonable, of course, it may be because this view has always been with me. The reasons for adherence to the principles are consistent. 


"Who said elephants can’t dance" his brother suggested his brother work at IBM. 

He gave him some "brother suggestions", excerpted a few, which is what we should hear:
  • Put an end to short-sighted suggestions, gangs, and bad things behind their backs behavior.
  • Know that everything you (Guestner) said and did inside and outside the company will be analyzed and explained by people.
  • Find a private consultant who is not selfish.
  • Call mother.
Good advice. The first one is something that everyone who has entered the workplace and those who have not entered must have heard. Unfortunately, there are very few people who can really do it and fewer people who can consistently do it. 

This should be credited to me. Remind yourself in the articles you read regularly every month. Second, we are not the CEO of the company, nor the general manager of the company, but we also need to act and speak carefully, because every word you say and everything you do determines your position in the minds of others, It also determines the understanding of your subordinates and your superiors about your way of life and their attitudes towards you. 

Third, this is what I have been hoping for, but I can't do it, because I think it would be a great blessing to have a truly excellent tutor! In my first two decades, I was very lucky to have a mentor-type mother. She gave me a lot of guidance and help, and she is also helping me now, but because she is not around or around. 

The influence of the environment makes this kind of help have certain limitations in future life. If you can really find such a private consultant, it will be a blessing in a lifetime! The last point, the same as the third point, of course, there is also concern about mother! Care for your family!


"Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance" Gerstner believes that an excellent manager

"When you climb to the highest position, your role is to preside over the entire process. However, what I call a senior manager should be to dig into the details, People who are committed to solving and taking the lead every day are not just a title. 

They are people who have ownership and personal responsibility for the final result, and they should see themselves as a promoter, not a high-ranking person in the organization chart "I hope that senior management will become a direct and active participant in his problem-solving work, and ask him to take responsibility for this."

Below, I think the book is actually the biggest "Lesson" for me."

Here, Gerstner proposed that a successful company and a successful senior manager should have three broad and basic characteristics:
  • they all have their own concerns.
  • They all have excellent quality in execution.
  • They all have personal leadership skills.


"Who said that elephants can't dance" focuses on the so-called "own concerns", which are reflected in the core competitiveness of the company. 

Every successful company They should have their core competitiveness, they should not merge for the sake of mergers and acquisitions, and they should not merge other companies for the purpose of developing new businesses. This is a very important point. Gerstner pointed out that all the mergers and acquisitions he has experienced at IBM are part of the company's core strategy, and they are all selected mergers and acquisitions after the core strategy has been investigated and tested. 

At the same time, the bottom line is put forward: "A successful and focused company must be a company that has a deep understanding and thorough analysis of its customers' needs, its competitive environment, and economic status. Moreover, this comprehensive analysis can also be transformed into daily activities. The basis of a specific strategy." In my opinion, isn’t it the same for individuals? 

But how deeply do we have a deep understanding of "customer needs", "competitive environment", and "economic status quo"? How much effort has been made? Similarly, "To develop an excellent strategy, perhaps the most difficult part is a pragmatic competitiveness analysis." Knowing yourself is always the most difficult. 

"Ensuring that the company's resources are well allocated is also the most critical part of the company's strategy, and it is also the most difficult part." For individuals, this resource is time, energy, money, and many other things. It seems that it should be right. This is a systematic analysis.


"Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance" is about execution.

“People will only do what you check, not what you expect. Execution is about transforming strategy into an action plan and measuring its results. This is one specific and complex task, but also requires a deep understanding of where the company is currently and how far the company is from the ideal location. Good execution includes setting a measurable goal and getting people to do it Take responsibility.” 

At the same time, in order for these inspections to achieve results, a complete and suitable salary performance system must be established. Only this consistent adherence and uniform standards can maintain this practical action.

"Accountability must be implemented in the implementation of the strategy, and when the responsibility is not fulfilled, the policy must be changed quickly. Managers must also report on their work performance as required and explain the reasons for their successes and failures. Most importantly, Don’t believe in weather forecast expectations—you can only believe in the truth of taking precautions.” 

“I think effective strategy execution in a company is based on the following three foundations, namely, world-class business processes, strategic transparency, and high-Performance company culture.” 

In this regard, Gerstner has specific explanations in P219~P222. It is quite a classic language. Although it is a little empty, it speaks guiding thoughts and principles.


"Who said elephants can’t dance" on the personal leadership art Gerstner proposed his description of the personal leadership art: 

“It starts from the efforts of strategy, culture, and communication, and the content involves considerations, responsibilities, visibility, and Active participation in various areas of the company’s activities, etc. 

Without these, passion will become the wishful thinking of the organization leader, but the entire team has been beaten up by competitors. "

The conditions that IBM CEO must have:

  • Enthusiasm: Extraordinary personal energy; endurance; strong sense of action.
  • Organizational leadership ability: strategic awareness; the ability to drive and inspire others; the passion to maximize the potential of the company; build a strong team; best use the potential of others.
  • Market leadership: outstanding language skills; attending and participating in CEO-level activities in the industry and among customers.
  • Personal qualities: smart; self-confident and self-knowledge; good at listening; decisive decision-making-no matter in business activities or in the understanding of the system; passionate; resolutely customer-centric; inherently quick and influential force.
"All great leaders may be rigorous people (in fact, they are all pragmatic people, which is very different from what people usually call rigorous). At the same time, they are all fair People. Fairness or equality is very important for a successful organization leader. 

If a great leader forms gangs and the rewards and punishments are unknown, he will violate ethical standards and lose the respect of his colleagues."

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