Saving Big Blue: Leadership Lessons and Turnaround Tactics of IBM's Lou Gestner

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9780071342117: Saving Big Blue: Leadership Lessons and Turnaround Tactics of IBM's Lou Gestner

In this honest, inside look at one of the world's most inspiring corporate success stories, bestselling business author Robert Slater reveals how Gerstner stressed service, catapulted IBM into the Internet revolution, and restored IBM's mantle of leadership. Starting each chapter with a success maxim -- as in his bestselling Jack Welch and the GE Way -- Slater provides nothing less than the roadmap for achieving success in today's turbulent corporate world.

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From the early 1950s into the late 80s, IBM was the computer industry. Not only that, IBM was, to many, industry itself. It consistently set the standard for corporate performance and profitability worldwide. But that all changed in a strange, swift and brutal way. IBM--which had fiddled while Microsoft and Intel created a firestorm in the personal-computer world- -lost money for three consecutive years in the early 90s. The decision to allow Microsoft to control PC software and Intel to supply the microprocessors (they're both companies IBM could easily have bought out early in the game) came back to bite IBM on its bloated blue behind. And its no-layoffs policy, though admirable, meant the company kept a workforce of more than 300,000, making decisions at a glacial pace while other companies nimbly jumped from one new market to the next.

All that changed when Lou Gerstner was named CEO of IBM in 1993. Gerstner had already led turnarounds at American Express and RJR Nabisco and, as Saving Big Blue details, he proved to be the right man for the job. Gerstner started by changing the company's funereal dress code and eventually redirected the company to provide computer services rather than just computers. Saving Big Blue makes for interesting reading as a case study, but also provides a blueprint for any manager attempting to turnaround a business. --Lou Schuler

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