A small business can apply Gerstner's decision to keep IBM together by focusing on integration and synergy among its various units or departments. Instead of breaking apart the business into separate entities, the business should strive to work as a cohesive unit, leveraging the strengths of each part to create a more robust and versatile whole. This approach can help the business meet a broader range of customer needs and adapt more quickly to market changes. It's also important to note that this strategy requires strong leadership and a clear vision, as demonstrated by Gerstner at IBM.

stars icon
5 questions and answers
info icon

In Gerstner's leadership at IBM, the concept of 'integrator' refers to a role that IBM played in the industry. Instead of breaking IBM into individual business units as suggested by industry analysts, Gerstner decided to keep IBM united. He saw a gap in the market where there were many companies offering individual solutions (referred to as 'puzzle pieces'), but very few were willing or able to integrate these solutions into a cohesive whole. Gerstner believed that by keeping IBM together, it could meet this valuable need and act as the 'integrator', providing comprehensive solutions rather than individual components. This vision was based on his previous experience as an IBM customer when he was the head of American Express and later RJR Nabisco.

1. Vision: Gerstner had a clear vision for a united IBM with a strong services arm. This vision guided his decisions and strategies.

2. Resilience: Despite industry analysts suggesting that IBM would be best served by breaking apart, Gerstner stuck to his belief that IBM would meet a valuable need by staying together and playing the role of an integrator.

3. Experience: Gerstner's previous experience as an IBM customer gave him unique insights into the company's potential and the needs of its customers.

4. Leadership: Gerstner's leadership was characterized by bold decisions and a commitment to his vision. This kind of leadership can inspire teams and drive change.

View all 5 questions
stars icon Ask another question
This question was asked on the following resource:

Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: Leading a Great Enterprise through Dramatic Change

Learn from one of the best turnaround leaders of our time, Lou Gerstner of IBM. Take a page from Ger...

View summary
resource preview

Download and customize more than 500 business templates

Start here ⬇️

Go to dashboard to view and download stunning resources