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Sinopsis

Aprenda de uno de los mejores líderes de cambio de todos los tiempos, Lou Gerstner de IBM. Si su empresa o división está en modo de crisis, tome una página de ¿Quién Dice Que Los Elefantes No Pueden Bailar?: Liderando una Gran Empresa a través de un Cambio Dramático sobre qué hacer al mando de un barco que se hunde rápidamente.

El enfoque de Gerstner para liderar a IBM de vuelta desde el borde del abismo puede ser aplicado en muchos escenarios. Comprenda la importancia del efectivo y cómo liberar más de él. Enfrente una cultura tóxica con una comunicación robusta y elimine las prácticas ineficaces. Revitalice a los empleados con una estrategia orientada al mercado y un sentido de urgencia para superar a los competidores.

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Cash is crucial for any business as it allows for operational flexibility and investment in growth opportunities. In the context of the book, freeing up more cash could involve eliminating ineffective practices, improving efficiency, and focusing on market-driven strategies. This could involve cutting unnecessary costs, streamlining processes, and investing in areas that generate the most revenue. It's about making strategic decisions that improve the financial health and competitiveness of the business.

The theories presented in 'Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?' challenge existing paradigms in business management in several ways. Firstly, Gerstner emphasizes the importance of cash flow over traditional metrics like profit or revenue. This challenges the conventional focus on profitability as the primary measure of business success. Secondly, Gerstner advocates for robust communication to tackle toxic cultures, which contrasts with traditional top-down management styles. Lastly, he promotes a market-driven strategy and a sense of urgency to beat competitors, challenging the complacency that can come with established business practices.

Yes, there are several companies that have successfully implemented Gerstner's practices. For instance, Apple Inc. under the leadership of Steve Jobs implemented a market-driven strategy and robust communication to turn around the company. Similarly, Microsoft under Satya Nadella's leadership has also implemented these practices to transform the company's culture and drive growth.

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El caso del cambio de rumbo de IBM y el liderazgo de Gerstner demuestra que la estrategia ganadora y la cultura detrás de su ejecución son igualmente importantes.

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Los 20 mejores insights

  1. Según Gerstner, el flujo de caja libre es la medida más importante de un negocio. Aprendió esto como jefe de RJR Nabisco, cuando se desprendieron miles de millones en activos para pagar deudas. Aplicó lo mismo a IBM para estabilizar las finanzas.
  2. IBM había tenido tanto éxito que parecía una burbuja: había poco enfoque en cómo las necesidades de los clientes o los competidores estaban evolucionando. Para cambiar esta dinámica, Gerstner se convirtió en un micrófono para las quejas de los clientes y dejó que el mercado, en lugar de los caprichos de los ejecutivos, dictara todas las actividades.
  3. Gerstner inicialmente vio las finanzas de IBM y pensó que la posibilidad de supervivencia de la empresa no era más del 20%. Para evitar la desaparición, redujo los gastos a través de la consolidación de funciones, vendió artículos de alto valor como bienes raíces y obras de arte, y finalmente despidos.
  4. Los desafíos más difíciles de Gerstner fueron los problemas "blandos" como la moral, la cultura de la empresa y los valores.
  5. Una cultura sin política interna libera a los empleados para que se centren más en los clientes y competidores en lugar de en sus colegas. Este fue un paso clave para reconstruir la posición de mercado de IBM. Gerstner crucificó públicamente las batallas territoriales y las puñaladas por la espalda.
  6. Las presentaciones formales pueden ser distractoras e improductivas. En una de las primeras reuniones de Gerstner con un ejecutivo senior, apagó cortésmente la pantalla y dijo: "Hablemos simplemente de su negocio". Esto condujo a una discusión más transparente de la situación.
  7. Si bien es esencial obtener la posición de mercado correcta, no ignore el valor de un equipo de I+D riguroso y estratégico. Esto fue crucial para el éxito de IBM. Una inversión de mil millones de dólares en nueva tecnología para un producto clave los ayudó a superar la recesión y les permitió reducir los precios y mantener el mismo margen.
  8. Busque a sus clientes para posibles contrataciones; ellos tienen grandes insights sobre los puntos ciegos de su empresa. Gerstner ganó credibilidad con los clientes cuando dijo que había sido un cliente él mismo más tiempo del que sería CEO de IBM, y por lo tanto, reflejaba sus principales preocupaciones.
  9. Cuando los competidores han ganado terreno significativo en uno de sus productos, considere recortes de precios dramáticos como un último esfuerzo. Durante siete años, IBM redujo el precio de su mainframe de $63,000 a $2,500 al mes, una disminución del 96%. Milagrosamente, esto condujo a un crecimiento en volumen de alrededor del 50% cada año durante los siguientes tres años.
  10. Si cree que su equipo está desconectado de los clientes, imponga acciones para que todos vuelvan a la pista. Gerstner requirió que 50 de los empleados más senior de IBM y sus informes directos visitaran a cinco de sus clientes más grandes en tres meses, y luego le informaran con un memorando de dos páginas.
  11. Restaure un mayor sentido de propiedad entre el personal de nivel medio y empodérelos para que tomen decisiones. Gerstner abolió el famoso "Comité de Gestión" de IBM, un cuerpo de ejecutivos senior que se reunían quincenalmente para revisar todas las decisiones importantes. El Comité de Gestión difundía la responsabilidad y el liderazgo.
  12. No solo doblegue su modelo de negocio para adaptarse a lo que es popular o lo que podría proporcionar victorias a corto plazo. Muchos instaron a Gerstner a dividir IBM en unidades de negocio individuales, la estructura popular de la época. Gerstner vio más allá de esa moda y visualizó a IBM como un integrador para los clientes. Este movimiento finalmente salvó a IBM.
  13. Cuidado con los líderes que giran grandes visiones sin los fundamentos correctos. Durante un discurso inaugural temprano, mientras los reporteros clamaban por que Gerstner entregara una visión, él en cambio insistió en la necesidad de centrarse en la rentabilidad y la economía correcta antes de un cambio de dirección.
  14. Considere hacer promociones desde dentro. Gerstner dice: "Creo que habría sido absolutamente ingenuo... si hubiera entrado en una empresa tan compleja como IBM con un plan para importar una banda de forasteros..."
  15. La responsabilidad de un CEO durante una crisis no es cambiar directamente el comportamiento de los empleados, sino más bien comunicar que existe una crisis y cómo llegará a su fin.
  16. Las comunicaciones del CEO, especialmente durante una crisis, deben ser lo más directas posible. En lugar de suponer que el mensaje se "filtrará", Gerstner compuso correos electrónicos directamente a los empleados, que se conocieron como cartas "Querido colega".
  17. Una entrega más creativa de su mensaje puede llevar a una mejor persuasión. Una ejecutiva de marketing de IBM hizo el caso de la consolidación a una agencia de publicidad, dado la proliferación de logotipos y branding en las unidades de negocio. Cuando sus colegas entraron a la reunión, encontraron todas las paredes adornadas con la publicidad, el empaquetado y el material de marketing de todas las agencias de IBM.
  18. Las políticas de compensación pueden reforzar la cultura de la empresa y llevar a la complacencia entre el personal. Gerstner impulsó el rendimiento de los empleados y eliminó las viejas reglas como no despidos y aumentos planos, luego las reemplazó con recompensas variables basadas en el rendimiento.
  19. Si los competidores están eligiendo a sus mejores intérpretes durante su crisis, intente ofrecer opciones de acciones muy lucrativas a sus estrellas en ascenso. Esto envía el mensaje de que los valora mientras también los mantiene invertidos para quedarse a largo plazo.
  20. Si no está seguro sobre un modelo de negocio para su startup, considere la afirmación de Gerstner de que "los negocios de servicios son mucho más difíciles de gestionar [que los negocios de productos]". Existe un mayor riesgo de que no cumpla con las expectativas del cliente y más ambigüedad en la entrega del servicio versus un producto.
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Yes, there are several companies that have successfully implemented Gerstner's practices. One notable example is Apple Inc. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. Jobs implemented several of Gerstner's practices such as focusing on free cash flow, listening to customer complaints, and changing the company culture. As a result, Apple was able to turn around and is now one of the most valuable companies in the world.

The lessons from Gerstner's leadership at IBM can be applied in today's business environment in several ways. Firstly, focus on free cash flow as a crucial measure of business health. Secondly, prioritize customer needs and market trends over executive whims. Thirdly, be ready to make tough decisions to stabilize finances, including cost-cutting and asset sales. Lastly, pay attention to 'soft' aspects like morale, company culture, and values, and strive to create a culture free from internal politics.

1. Focus on Free Cash Flow: Gerstner emphasized the importance of free cash flow as a measure of a business's health. This can be applied by entrepreneurs to ensure financial stability.

2. Customer-Centric Approach: Gerstner prioritized customer needs and market trends over executive whims. This approach can be adopted by managers to ensure their business stays relevant and competitive.

3. Cost Cutting and Asset Utilization: Gerstner implemented cost-cutting measures and sold high-value items to stabilize IBM's finances. Entrepreneurs can learn to be resourceful and make tough decisions when necessary.

4. Addressing Soft Problems: Gerstner also tackled issues like morale, company culture, and values. This shows that successful leadership involves addressing both hard and soft problems.

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Resumen

Sobrevivir a una crisis requiere un liderazgo audaz, una estrategia para el futuro, decisiones difíciles y la capacidad de motivar e inspirar a otros para que lo acompañen. El líder de cambio de IBM, Louis Gerstner, implementó estas tácticas y más, haciendo llamadas para mantener a IBM unida, reducir drásticamente los precios, entrar en el nuevo reino de los servicios y reorganizarse en torno a las industrias en lugar de las geografías. Aprenda sus razonamientos y cómo mantuvo a IBM a flote después de darle al negocio no más de un 20% de posibilidades de superar su recesión. Un desafío aún mayor fue el choque cultural que se produjo cuando imbuido IBM con nuevos valores de competitividad y enfoque en el cliente en lugar de complacencia y tradicionalismo acérrimo. Aprenda su filosofía de comunicación y las nueve estrategias que eligió para motivar a otros.

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Lou Gerstner's approach to business leadership challenged existing practices in several ways. Firstly, he made bold decisions to keep IBM together during a crisis, which included reducing prices and entering the new realm of services. Secondly, he reorganized IBM around industries rather than geographies, a significant shift from traditional business structures. Lastly, he tackled the company's culture, replacing complacency and staunch traditionalism with competitiveness and customer-focus. His communication philosophy and the nine strategies he chose to motivate others were also key aspects of his transformative leadership.

The key takeaways from Lou Gerstner's leadership at IBM include his bold and strategic approach to crisis management. He made tough decisions such as keeping IBM together, reducing prices dramatically, and entering the new realm of services. He also reorganized IBM around industries rather than geographies. Gerstner faced a significant challenge in changing IBM's culture, replacing complacency and staunch traditionalism with competitiveness and customer-focus. His communication philosophy and the nine strategies he used to motivate others are also noteworthy.

The strategies used in IBM's turnaround can be applied to today's business environment in several ways. Firstly, bold leadership is crucial in navigating through a crisis. Leaders must be willing to make tough decisions and have a clear strategy for the future. Secondly, a shift in organizational structure may be necessary. In IBM's case, they reorganized around industries rather than geographies. Thirdly, a focus on competitiveness and customer-focus can replace complacency and traditionalism. Lastly, effective communication is key in motivating and inspiring others to follow the new direction.

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Apuestas estratégicas

IBM se mantiene unida

Desde el principio, la visión de Gerstner en una IBM unida con un fuerte brazo de servicios estuvo a la vanguardia de su liderazgo. Una de las primeras decisiones que tomó al entrar en IBM fue la decisión de mantener a IBM unida en lugar de vender las unidades de negocio individuales. Los analistas de la industria sugirieron que IBM podría realizar mejor el valor para los accionistas al desmembrarse y mostrar sus cartas con sus unidades más valiosas. Sin embargo, en un mundo donde había infinitas empresas que ofrecían "piezas de rompecabezas" pero pocos jugadores dispuestos y capaces de ser el "integrador", Gerstner sabía que IBM satisfaría una necesidad valiosa al permanecer unida y jugar ese papel. Estaba seguro en su posición debido a su experiencia previa siendo un cliente de IBM como jefe de American Express y luego RJR Nabisco.

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Entrepreneurs and managers can learn several lessons from Gerstner's approach to organizational structure. Firstly, the importance of unity in an organization. Gerstner believed in keeping IBM together rather than selling off individual business units. This decision was against the industry analysts' suggestions, showing the importance of strong leadership and conviction in one's decisions. Secondly, the value of being an integrator in a market full of specialized entities. Gerstner saw the opportunity for IBM to meet a valuable need by staying together and playing the role of an integrator. Lastly, the value of past experiences. Gerstner's confidence in his position was bolstered by his previous experience as an IBM customer.

Gerstner's vision challenged the existing paradigm by advocating for unity and integration rather than division. At a time when industry analysts suggested that IBM would best realize shareholder value by breaking apart and selling off its more valuable units, Gerstner decided to keep IBM together. He saw a gap in the market where there were many companies offering individual services, but few who could integrate these services. Drawing from his experience as an IBM customer in his previous roles, he was confident that IBM could meet this need by staying together and playing the role of an integrator.

Under Gerstner's leadership, IBM played a crucial role as an integrator in the industry. Gerstner's vision was to keep IBM united with a strong services arm. Despite suggestions from industry analysts to break apart IBM and sell off individual business units, Gerstner decided to keep IBM together. He saw a gap in the market where there were many companies offering individual solutions, but few were able to integrate these solutions. Gerstner, with his previous experience as an IBM customer, knew that IBM could meet this valuable need by staying together and playing the role of an integrator.

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Cuando comenzó su mandato, hubo un alboroto de actividad limpiando las finanzas y trabajando con banqueros de inversión para prepararse para las IPOs individuales. Rápidamente puso fin a eso y comenzó a tomar una serie de decisiones difíciles para detener la "hemorragia de efectivo" y mantener una cuota de mercado que se erosionaba rápidamente.

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Lou Gerstner implemented several cultural changes at IBM that played a crucial role in the company's turnaround. Firstly, he shifted the company's focus from hardware to services, which was a significant departure from IBM's traditional business model. Secondly, he fostered a customer-centric culture, emphasizing the importance of understanding and meeting customer needs. Thirdly, he dismantled the company's bureaucratic structure, promoting a more collaborative and agile work environment. These changes not only helped IBM recover from its financial crisis but also repositioned it as a global leader in the IT services industry.

1. Prioritize financial stability: Gerstner halted the hemorrhaging of cash at IBM, demonstrating the importance of financial health for any organization.

2. Make tough decisions: Gerstner wasn't afraid to make difficult choices to maintain market share, showing that effective leadership often requires courage and decisiveness.

3. Challenge outdated structures: Gerstner's turnaround of IBM involved tackling outdated organizational structures, suggesting that entrepreneurs and managers should be willing to innovate and adapt.

Lou Gerstner made several innovative and surprising decisions during his tenure at IBM. One of the most notable was his decision to halt the company's plan to prepare for individual IPOs, which was in progress when he took over. Instead, he focused on stopping the "hemorrhaging of cash" and maintaining IBM's rapidly eroding market share. This was a significant shift in strategy and showed his commitment to turning the company around. Another surprising decision was his approach to tackle outdated organizational structures, which played a crucial role in reinvigorating IBM.

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Reducir precios y cortar costos para mantenerse en el juego

IBM había sido pionera y la jugadora dominante en el mundo del "mainframe" durante años. Sin embargo, en 1992, el espacio era mucho más competitivo y IBM estaba luchando. Parecía impensable bajar los precios en un momento en que el negocio ya estaba perdiendo tanto dinero. Pero Gerstner estaba convencido de que esta era la única forma. Lo que vio que otros no vieron fue que IBM estaba "ordeñando" una línea de productos moribunda. Los días de precios premium en su mainframe estaban disminuyendo, y era cuestión de tiempo antes de que los competidores los desplazaran. La única forma de mantenerse en el juego era participar en la guerra de precios. Afortunadamente, IBM también tenía un as bajo la manga para mantener la rentabilidad a través de los cambios de precios. Varios años antes, IBM había hecho una inversión de mil millones de dólares en una nueva "arquitectura técnica" para su producto mainframe. El tamaño de IBM y sus muchos años en el negocio les permitieron hacer esta inversión crucial que aumentó enormemente la rentabilidad del producto en relación con los competidores.

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IBM's turnaround strategy under Lou Gerstner has greatly influenced corporate strategies and business models in the tech industry. Gerstner's approach was to lower prices to stay competitive, even when the business was losing money. This was a significant shift from the traditional model of maintaining premium pricing. Additionally, IBM invested heavily in new technical architecture for its mainframe product, which increased its profitability relative to competitors. This strategy of investing in technology to improve profitability has been adopted by many tech companies. Furthermore, IBM's turnaround demonstrated the importance of agility and adaptability in a rapidly changing industry, principles that are now widely recognized in the tech sector.

The strategies used in IBM's turnaround have significant potential to be implemented in real-world scenarios today. These strategies include recognizing and adapting to market changes, investing in new technologies, and restructuring pricing models to stay competitive. However, the implementation of these strategies would depend on the specific circumstances of the organization, including its size, industry, and the nature of its challenges. It's also important to note that successful implementation requires strong leadership and a willingness to make tough decisions.

Yes, there are several examples of companies that have successfully implemented a strategy similar to IBM's during its turnaround. One such example is Apple Inc. In the late 1990s, Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy. However, with the return of Steve Jobs, the company shifted its focus from a broad range of products to a few key items that were designed and executed exceptionally well. This strategy, coupled with a strong emphasis on innovation, helped Apple to not only recover but also become one of the most valuable companies in the world. Another example is Ford Motor Company. During the 2008 financial crisis, Ford implemented a turnaround strategy that involved restructuring the organization, focusing on the most profitable models, and investing in technology. This strategy helped Ford to recover without the need for a government bailout, unlike its competitors.

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"Si este proyecto enormemente complejo pudiera llevarse a cabo, permitiría reducciones de precios sustanciales en el S/390 sin una pérdida correspondiente en el beneficio bruto."

Afortunadamente, la apuesta por reducir los precios y usar la nueva tecnología CMOS fue exitosa. El volumen del mainframe creció dramáticamente después de estas decisiones.

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Muchos atribuyen a este par de decisiones - reducir precios e invertir en CMOS - la protección de IBM durante su casi colapso. Aunque la decisión de invertir en CMOS se tomó antes de la llegada de Gerstner, su decisión de reducir los precios y soportar una disminución a corto plazo en los ingresos aseguró el futuro a largo plazo del negocio.

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The strategies discussed in "Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?" have significant potential for implementation in real-world scenarios. The book outlines the successful turnaround of IBM under the leadership of Lou Gerstner. Key strategies included cutting prices and investing in CMOS technology, which helped IBM survive a near-collapse. These strategies can be applied in other businesses facing similar challenges, such as the need for cost reduction, technological advancement, and organizational change. However, the specific application would depend on the unique circumstances of each business.

The decision-making process in 'Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?' challenges existing paradigms in business leadership by demonstrating the importance of bold, strategic decisions in the face of adversity. The book recounts how Lou Gerstner, the CEO of IBM, made the tough decision to cut prices and invest in CMOS technology, despite the short-term decline in revenue. This decision was contrary to traditional business practices, which often prioritize immediate profits over long-term sustainability. Gerstner's approach underscores the need for leaders to be visionary and willing to take calculated risks for the long-term success of their organizations.

A small business can weather a short-term decline in revenue for long-term growth by making strategic decisions that may initially reduce profits but have long-term benefits. This could include investing in new technologies, reducing prices to increase market share, or restructuring the business to improve efficiency. These strategies require a clear vision for the future and a willingness to endure short-term challenges for long-term success. It's important to note that such strategies should be based on thorough market research and financial analysis.

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Sobrevivir en 1993 también significó tomar algunas decisiones difíciles en cuanto a recortes de gastos y despidos. Aunque se rumoreaba que IBM tenía una política de "no despidos", miles de empleados habían dejado IBM desde 1990. Se tomaron decisiones difíciles y el número de empleados disminuyó aproximadamente un 25% entre 1992 y 1994, pasando de 301.500 en 1992 a 256.200 en 1993 y luego a 219.800 en 1994. Curiosamente, IBM también poseía millones de dólares en bellas artes y bienes raíces valiosos, que se vendieron a principios de los años 90 como medio de supervivencia.

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A manufacturing company can apply IBM's innovative approaches to their restructuring efforts by first identifying the areas that need improvement or change. This could be outdated organizational structures, inefficient processes, or underperforming departments. Once these areas are identified, the company can then implement changes such as expense cuts, layoffs, or selling off non-essential assets, similar to how IBM sold off its fine art and valuable real estate in the early 1990s. The company should also be open to making tough decisions, as IBM did when it reduced its number of employees by approximately 25% between 1992 and 1994. It's important to note that these changes should be made with the goal of improving the company's overall performance and competitiveness.

IBM's decision to sell off their fine art and valuable real estate during their restructuring had significant implications. Firstly, it was a strategic move to generate immediate cash flow during a financially challenging period. This helped the company to survive and maintain operations. Secondly, it signaled a shift in IBM's priorities, focusing more on core business operations rather than non-essential assets. Lastly, it was a part of a broader cost-cutting strategy, which included layoffs, to make the company leaner and more efficient. However, such decisions might have had a short-term negative impact on employee morale and public perception.

IBM's turnaround strategy is relevant to contemporary business issues and debates in several ways. Firstly, it demonstrates the importance of agile leadership in the face of changing market conditions. IBM's leadership made tough decisions, including layoffs and selling assets, to ensure the company's survival. Secondly, it highlights the need for businesses to constantly reassess and adapt their strategies to stay competitive. Lastly, it underscores the significance of a customer-centric approach, as IBM shifted its focus from products to solutions based on customer needs. These lessons remain pertinent in today's rapidly evolving business landscape.

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Convirtiéndose en un jugador de servicios

La experiencia de Gerstner como cliente de IBM informó sus decisiones tanto para mantener la empresa unida como para invertir fuertemente en convertirse en un jugador de servicios. Mientras los clientes se enfrentaban a una oferta interminable de soluciones tecnológicas, nadie estaba dando un paso efectivo para ayudarles a ponerlo todo junto, resolviendo sus problemas de negocio con soluciones tecnológicas. Gerstner quería llevarlos allí, hombro con hombro con Dennie Welsh, quien estaba al frente de la Corporación de Servicios de Sistemas Integrados de IBM. Welsh fue el primero en acudir a Gerstner con la visión de una empresa de servicios. El tipo de oferta de servicio que le propuso a Gerstner encajaba precisamente con la estrategia de mantener a IBM integrada y también coincidía con la necesidad de soluciones tecnológicas holísticas que Gerstner había experimentado como CEO en otras industrias. Sin embargo, a pesar de lo emocionante que era, ambos hombres estuvieron de acuerdo en que sería una batalla cuesta arriba trabajar contra la cultura de IBM para implementar la nueva estrategia. A pesar de todo el esfuerzo extra que requería, la decisión de convertir a IBM en un líder de servicios dio sus frutos. En 1992, los ingresos por servicios eran de 7.4 mil millones de dólares. En 2001, eran de 30 mil millones de dólares.

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The feasibility of implementing Gerstner's ideas in real-world scenarios outside of IBM largely depends on the specific context and circumstances of the organization. Gerstner's approach was based on a deep understanding of customer needs and a commitment to providing holistic technology solutions. This strategy can be applicable in many scenarios, especially in technology-driven industries. However, it's important to note that it may require significant changes in organizational culture and structure, which can be challenging. Also, the success of such a strategy is contingent on strong leadership and a clear vision, as demonstrated by Gerstner at IBM.

One of the most innovative ideas presented by Gerstner in his strategy for IBM was the shift towards becoming a services-oriented company. Recognizing that customers were overwhelmed by the plethora of technology solutions available, Gerstner aimed to help them integrate these solutions to solve their business problems. This approach was a departure from IBM's traditional focus on hardware and software products. Another surprising idea was Gerstner's decision to keep IBM integrated, contrary to the prevailing trend of breaking up large corporations into smaller, more focused entities. This strategy was based on Gerstner's belief in the value of providing holistic technology solutions.

IBM's turnaround under Lou Gerstner's leadership is a classic case of organizational transformation. Gerstner, with his background as an IBM customer, recognized the need for a holistic approach to technology solutions. He decided to keep the company together and heavily invest in becoming a services player. This was a strategic move to meet the needs of customers who were struggling to integrate various technology solutions. Gerstner, along with Dennie Welsh, who headed IBM's Integrated Systems Services Corporation, envisioned IBM as a services company. This vision aligned with the strategy to remain an integrated IBM and met the need for comprehensive technology solutions. However, implementing this new strategy was a challenge due to the existing IBM culture. Despite the difficulties, they persevered, leading to IBM's successful turnaround.

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Reorganizándose alrededor de las industrias globales

La visión que Gerstner tenía para IBM no habría podido tomar forma sin varios otros esfuerzos que se estaban llevando a cabo en segundo plano. Uno de estos elementos críticos era la "organización", o cómo estaba estructurada IBM, incluyendo quién es responsable de qué productos, servicios o territorios geográficos y quién informa a quién.

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IBM's turnaround under Lou Gerstner's leadership has had a significant influence on corporate strategies and business models in other companies. It demonstrated the importance of agile leadership and the willingness to challenge and change outdated organizational structures. Companies learned the value of having a clear vision and the need for effective organization, including clear responsibilities for products, services, and territories. This case also highlighted the importance of adaptability in the face of changing market conditions. Many companies have since adopted similar strategies for their own turnarounds.

IBM's turnaround under Lou Gerstner involved several key strategies. First, Gerstner restructured the organization, defining clear responsibilities for products, services, and geographic territories. This helped streamline operations and improve accountability. Second, he focused on revitalizing the company's culture, moving away from outdated structures and practices. Lastly, Gerstner had a clear vision for IBM's future, which was crucial in guiding the company through the changes. The broader implications of these strategies include the importance of strong leadership, the need for clear organizational structures, and the role of a clear vision in driving change.

The lessons from IBM's turnaround can be applied in today's business environment in several ways. Firstly, it's important to have a clear vision for the company, as Gerstner did for IBM. This vision should guide all decisions and strategies. Secondly, organizational structure is crucial. It's important to clearly define who is responsible for what, and who reports to whom. This ensures accountability and efficiency. Lastly, it's important to be willing to make dramatic changes if necessary, as Gerstner did when he reinvigorated IBM.

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Intentar reorganizar cualquier empresa es una tarea gigantesca, pero aún más en el caso de IBM debido a su complejidad. Había tres áreas de complejidad en juego: los clientes, la tecnología y los empleados. Dada la oferta de IBM, podía servir a cualquier tipo de organización en el planeta, desde startups y corporaciones hasta organizaciones no gubernamentales y escuelas. No había una clara segmentación de clientes. Además, dado el hecho de que era una empresa de tecnología a principios de los años 90, estaba operando en una industria que estaba en constante cambio. A medida que aparecía nueva tecnología, también lo hacían nuevos competidores y estándares. Y por último, IBM era compleja en lo que respecta a sus empleados. Mientras que la mayoría de las empresas tienen una sede corporativa que da dirección a ubicaciones distribuidas como franquicias, tiendas minoristas o fábricas, todos los cientos de miles de empleados de IBM eran profesionales inteligentes, opinantes y altamente educados.

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Companies might face several obstacles when applying the concepts from "Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?". These could include resistance to change from employees, lack of clear customer segmentation, rapidly changing industry standards, and the complexity of reorganizing a large organization. To overcome these, companies could foster a culture of adaptability and continuous learning, develop clear customer segmentation strategies, stay abreast of industry trends and standards, and plan the reorganization meticulously with clear communication and involvement of all stakeholders.

IBM's turnaround under Lou Gerstner challenged existing paradigms in organizational restructuring by focusing on three areas of complexity: customers, technology, and employees. Instead of a traditional top-down approach, Gerstner emphasized the importance of understanding and serving diverse customer needs, adapting to rapidly changing technology, and leveraging the intelligence and opinions of all employees. This approach was a departure from the norm, as it required a more flexible and responsive organizational structure, rather than a rigid, hierarchical one. It proved that even large, complex organizations like IBM could successfully adapt and change.

1. Embrace complexity: Gerstner led IBM through a period of immense complexity, dealing with diverse customers, rapidly changing technology, and a large, opinionated workforce. Entrepreneurs and managers can learn to navigate their own complexities and use them as a strength.

2. Be adaptable: The technology industry was constantly changing during Gerstner's tenure at IBM. His ability to adapt to new technologies, competitors, and standards was key to his success.

3. Value your employees: Gerstner's leadership recognized the intelligence and opinions of IBM's employees. Entrepreneurs and managers can similarly benefit from valuing and leveraging the skills and insights of their teams.

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Sin embargo, si la transformación de Gerstner iba a tener lugar, se necesitaba una reorganización dramática. IBM estaba actualmente estructurada según la geografía, con cada líder geográfico importante teniendo un gran poder sobre lo que sucedía en su territorio. Esta visión fragmentada significaba que "IBM parecía ser incapaz de adoptar una visión global del cliente o una visión tecnológica impulsada por las necesidades del cliente". En cambio, eran los líderes individuales de cada país los que tenían la última palabra.

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Gerstner's transformation of IBM is relevant to contemporary business issues and debates in several ways. Firstly, it highlights the importance of strategic leadership in turning around a failing company. Gerstner's ability to restructure IBM according to customer and technology views, rather than geography, is a key lesson for businesses facing similar challenges. Secondly, it underscores the need for businesses to adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs. Lastly, it demonstrates the potential of a strong leader to drive change and overcome resistance within the organization.

The lessons from Gerstner's turnaround of IBM can be applied in today's business environment in several ways. Firstly, it's important to reevaluate and restructure the organization if necessary, just like Gerstner did with IBM's geography-based structure. This could mean breaking down silos and encouraging a more global and customer-centric view. Secondly, strong leadership is crucial in driving change and overcoming resistance. Lastly, it's important to be adaptable and willing to change the company's direction based on customer needs and market trends.

The "global customer view" is a strategic approach that Gerstner implemented during his transformation of IBM. Previously, IBM was structured according to geography, with each major geographic leader having significant influence over their territory. This structure resulted in a fractured view, where IBM was unable to take a global customer view or a technology view driven by customer requirements. Gerstner's transformation aimed to shift this perspective, focusing on a global customer view that prioritizes customer requirements across all territories, rather than individual country leaders' preferences.

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"Declaré la guerra a los feudos geográficos", dice Gerstner.

Gerstner se propuso organizar IBM en función de equipos de industria global. Primero, segmentaron a los clientes en trece grupos de industria. Luego, Gerstner reasignó todas las cuentas de clientes actuales de los jefes geográficos a los jefes de industria global, asegurando que cada grupo tuviera un presupuesto y personal adecuados. Esto no fue bien recibido por la "vieja guardia" sin problemas. Muchos se negaron a renunciar al control y dirigieron a su personal a hacer lo mismo. En total, la reorganización geográfica tardó unos tres años en implementarse con éxito.

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Potential obstacles companies might face when applying Gerstner's reorganization strategy include resistance from the old guard who may refuse to relinquish control and direct their staff to do the same. This resistance can slow down the reorganization process and create conflicts within the company. To overcome these obstacles, companies can ensure clear communication about the benefits and necessity of the reorganization, provide adequate support and resources to the new global industry heads, and foster a culture of adaptability and openness to change. It's also important to be patient as such a reorganization can take several years to implement successfully.

The concept of "global industry teams" was a key part of Gerstner's reorganization of IBM. Instead of organizing the company geographically, Gerstner decided to organize it according to global industry teams. He segmented customers into thirteen industry groups and reallocated all current customer accounts away from geographic heads and to the global industry heads. This ensured that each group had an adequate budget and personnel. The transition was not smooth, with many of the "old guard" refusing to relinquish control. However, after about three years, the reorganization was successfully implemented.

Gerstner's approach to reorganization has significantly influenced corporate strategies and business models. He introduced a global industry team-based structure at IBM, moving away from the traditional geographic-based organization. This involved segmenting customers into thirteen industry groups and reallocating all current customer accounts from geographic heads to global industry heads. This ensured each group had an adequate budget and personnel. Despite resistance from the 'old guard', this reorganization was successfully implemented over three years. This approach has influenced businesses to consider a more global and industry-focused model, breaking away from traditional geographic limitations.

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Cambio de cultura y comunicación

Gerstner heredó una cultura de valores tradicionales. Los empleados vestían camisas blancas y corbatas oscuras y recibían generosos beneficios. Parte del ascenso en IBM requería convertirse en asistente administrativo de los altos ejecutivos por un tiempo, sentándose al fondo de las reuniones y tomando notas mientras estaban al servicio de su jefe. También había otras prácticas extrañas, como el hecho de que casi cualquiera podía vetar cualquier propuesta en su camino a la realización. Uno simplemente tenía que declarar que estaba "no conforme", y un proyecto se detendría en seco.

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A small business can implement the winning strategy and culture behind IBM's successful turnaround by adopting a few key practices. First, it's important to challenge traditional values and practices that may be hindering progress. This could mean changing dress codes, benefits, or hierarchical structures that are outdated. Second, it's crucial to eliminate practices that allow for unnecessary roadblocks in decision-making processes. For example, IBM had a practice where almost anyone could veto a proposal, which often led to projects being stopped in their tracks. By eliminating such practices, a small business can ensure smoother operations and quicker decision-making. Lastly, it's important to foster a culture of change and adaptability, as this was a key factor in IBM's turnaround.

Startups can learn several strategies from IBM's turnaround to tackle outdated organizational structures. Firstly, they can adopt a culture of change and flexibility, as opposed to sticking to traditional values and practices. Secondly, they can implement a system where decisions are not hindered by unnecessary bureaucracy, as was the case with IBM where any proposal could be vetoed. Lastly, they can ensure that the path to upward mobility within the organization is based on merit and performance, rather than on serving as an administrative assistant to top executives.

The culture at IBM, particularly during the time of Lou Gerstner's leadership, had both positive and negative impacts on the company's ability to innovate and adapt to change. On one hand, the traditional values and practices, such as the requirement to become an administrative assistant to top executives for a time, could potentially stifle innovation and slow down decision-making processes. The practice of allowing almost anyone to veto any proposal could also hinder progress and innovation. On the other hand, these traditional values and practices could also foster a sense of stability and continuity, which could be beneficial in times of change. Ultimately, Gerstner's leadership and his ability to challenge these traditional practices played a crucial role in IBM's turnaround.

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Un fenómeno de trabajar en una empresa que había disfrutado de un dominio del mercado a largo plazo durante algún tiempo era que la cultura se había inmunizado contra muchas de las presiones de los competidores y de sobrevivir en un mercado típico. Las necesidades de los clientes eran fácilmente ignoradas, los empleados estaban más centrados en la política interna que en repeler a los competidores, y las calificaciones de rendimiento y sus implicaciones eran débiles.

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One key topic in "Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?" is the concept of organizational change and turnaround. The book discusses how IBM, under the leadership of Lou Gerstner, managed to reverse its fortunes by tackling outdated organizational structures and reinvigorating its culture. A significant issue highlighted is the complacency that can set in within a company that has enjoyed long-term market dominance. Such a company can become insulated from competitive pressures and lose sight of customer needs. Internal politics may take precedence over market competition, and performance ratings may not accurately reflect the realities of the marketplace. Gerstner's leadership emphasized the need to refocus on these external factors and adapt to a changing business environment.

The theories presented in 'Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?' challenge existing paradigms in business management by emphasizing the need for change and adaptability in large, established organizations. The book, which details IBM's turnaround under Lou Gerstner, argues against the complacency that can come with long-term market dominance. It highlights the dangers of ignoring customer needs, focusing too much on internal politics, and having weak performance ratings. Instead, it advocates for a customer-centric approach, strong leadership, and the willingness to challenge outdated organizational structures.

Potential obstacles companies might face when applying the concepts from "Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?" could include resistance to change, entrenched internal politics, and a lack of customer focus. Overcoming these obstacles requires strong leadership, clear communication of the need for change, and a shift in company culture to prioritize customer needs and competitive strategy over internal politics. It's also important to establish clear performance metrics and consequences to drive the desired behavior.

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Gerstner implementó prácticas claras para comenzar a establecer nuevas expectativas. En primer lugar, adoptó una política de comunicación directa. En sus primeros días, realizó una gira mundial por las operaciones de IBM, reuniéndose con líderes, personal y clientes, escuchando sus aportaciones y atendiendo sus quejas. Comenzó una serie de comunicaciones por correo electrónico "Querido colega" en las que establecía principios y valores para hacer negocios y trabajar en IBM. Especialmente en los oscuros primeros días cuando el futuro de IBM era incierto, se mantuvo firme en la creencia de que era trabajo del CEO comunicar tanto la existencia de una crisis como cómo terminaría.

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The CEO's role in communicating the existence of a crisis and its resolution is crucial. This was exemplified by Lou Gerstner at IBM. He believed that it was the CEO's job to communicate both the existence of a crisis and how it would end. This is important because it sets the tone for the entire organization and ensures everyone is on the same page. It also helps to alleviate fears and uncertainties within the organization. Gerstner practiced direct communication and set clear expectations. He conducted a world tour of IBM operations, meeting with leaders, staff, and customers, listening to their input and addressing their concerns. He also started a series of 'Dear Colleague' email communications where he laid out principles and values for doing business and working at IBM.

The lessons from Lou Gerstner's leadership can be applied in today's business environment in several ways. Firstly, the importance of clear and direct communication. Gerstner conducted a world tour of IBM operations, meeting with leaders, staff, and customers, listening to their input and fielding their complaints. This approach can be adopted by leaders today to understand the ground realities of their businesses. Secondly, setting new expectations and principles for doing business and working at the organization. This can help in aligning the entire organization towards a common goal. Lastly, the belief that it is the CEO's job to communicate both the existence of a crisis and how it would end. This can help in building trust and confidence among the employees during challenging times.

A company in a traditional sector like manufacturing can apply Lou Gerstner's strategies by implementing clear practices and setting new expectations. This could involve direct communication, similar to Gerstner's world tour of IBM operations where he met with leaders, staff, and customers, listening to their input and addressing their complaints. The company could also adopt a policy of regular communications where principles and values for doing business are laid out. Especially in times of crisis, it's important for the leadership to communicate both the existence of a crisis and the plan to resolve it.

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"No se produce ninguna transformación institucional, creo, sin un compromiso de varios años por parte del CEO de ponerse constantemente frente a los empleados y hablar en un lenguaje sencillo, simple y convincente que impulse la convicción y la acción en toda la organización."

Podría ser tentador delegar este tipo de mensajes a los jefes de las empresas subsidiarias o similares, pero Gerstner afirma que en algunos casos, esta filosofía de comunicación le requería "arrebatar el micrófono a los jefes de las unidades de negocio". En un momento de cambio tan tumultuoso, la única forma de asegurar un mensaje coherente en todo el tablero era que viniera de una sola persona. Además, crear una cultura de alto rendimiento era una prioridad para Gerstner, y entendía que las personas se motivan de diferentes maneras. Trabajando bajo esta suposición, aquí hay una lista de los diferentes ángulos y una lista preliminar de acciones que uno podría considerar cuando espera incentivar a los empleados de nuevas maneras y cambiar el comportamiento organizacional:

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Gerstner's approach to organizational change challenges existing paradigms in business leadership in several ways. Firstly, he emphasizes the importance of direct communication from the top. Instead of delegating messaging to heads of subsidiary businesses, Gerstner took it upon himself to ensure a consistent message across the board. This approach challenges the traditional hierarchical communication structure in many businesses. Secondly, Gerstner prioritized creating a high-performance culture. He understood that people are motivated in different ways and considered various angles and actions to incentivize employees and change organizational behavior. This approach challenges the one-size-fits-all motivation strategy often seen in traditional business leadership.

A startup can use Gerstner's strategies to incentivize employees and change organizational behavior by adopting a few key principles. Firstly, clear and consistent communication from the top is crucial. This ensures that the entire organization is aligned with the vision and goals. Secondly, creating a high-performance culture should be a top priority. This can be achieved by understanding that people are motivated in different ways and tailoring incentives accordingly. Lastly, it's important to be open to new ways of incentivizing employees and changing organizational behavior. This could involve experimenting with different reward systems, providing opportunities for professional development, or fostering a culture of innovation and creativity.

Some examples of companies that have successfully created a high-performance culture include Google, Netflix, and Amazon. Google is known for its innovative and employee-friendly culture which encourages creativity and collaboration. Netflix has a culture of freedom and responsibility, where employees are given autonomy and are expected to act in the best interest of the company. Amazon has a customer-obsessed culture, where every decision is made with the customer in mind. These companies, like IBM under Gerstner, have cultures that align with their strategic goals and motivate their employees to perform at their best.

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  • Dinero – Ofrecer un salario competitivo, aumentos, bonos o opciones de acciones.
  • Avance – Ofrecer promociones, títulos y nombramientos especiales.
  • Reconocimiento – Simplemente reconocer un trabajo bien hecho, ya sea públicamente o en privado.
  • Miedo/Ira – Dejar que se muestren tus verdaderos colores, hasta cierto punto.
  • Aprendizaje – Establecer formaciones internas, patrocinar grados y crear asociaciones con universidades.
  • Impacto – Asignar a los empleados a proyectos con un impacto desmesurado.
  • Productividad – Destacar la producción específica de un proyecto dado.
  • Amenaza de Extinción – Comunicar las implicaciones de no tener éxito, es decir, salir del negocio o ser despedido.
  • Inspiración – Centrarse en la "luz al final del túnel", o la visión inspiradora, como medio de motivación.
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The 'Money' strategy from Lou Gerstner's book has influenced corporate pay structures by emphasizing the importance of offering competitive pay, raises, bonuses, or stock options. This strategy suggests that financial incentives can be a powerful motivator for employees, encouraging them to perform at their best and contribute to the success of the company. It has led many corporations to reevaluate their pay structures and consider how they can use financial rewards to motivate and retain their employees.

The "Learning" strategy from "Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?" can be used to foster growth in a corporate environment by establishing in-house trainings, sponsoring degrees, and creating university partnerships. This strategy encourages continuous learning and development among employees, which can lead to innovation and improved performance. It also helps in retaining talent as employees feel valued and invested in. Furthermore, it can create a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration, which can drive the company's growth.

IBM is a prime example of a company that successfully used the Threat of Extinction as a motivation tool. When Lou Gerstner took over as CEO in 1993, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. He communicated the dire situation to the employees, making it clear that the company could go out of business if they did not change their ways. This created a sense of urgency that motivated the employees to work harder and more efficiently, ultimately leading to the company's turnaround.

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El agudo uso de la psicología humana por parte de Gerstner y su disposición para enfrentarse a la cultura de IBM contribuyeron a su éxito en IBM tanto como su estrategia unificadora de servicios.

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