HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHERS
|Number of Pages
Business & Economics
Who Says Elephants Can't Dance is Louis V. Gerstner's own version of how he revived IBM, and transformed the collapsing company into one of the best IT companies of today.
Summary Of The Book
In 1993, Louis V. Gerstner was appointed as the CEO of IBM. At the time, IBM was on the brink of collapsing. Who Says Elephants Can't Dance shows us how the dynamic CEO led the company from disaster to immense success. Gerstner was appointed the CEO because of his experience, and his successful management of his earlier companies, RJR Nabisco and American Express. Gerstner was completely new to the field of technology. In this book, we get a direct account of how he brought about the miraculous transformation of this crumbling company. Who Says Elephants Can't Dance is divided into five parts, which are titled Grabbing Hold, Strategy, Culture, Lessons Learnt and Observations.
The first part, Grabbing Hold, gives the readers an insider's view of a company's process of recruiting a CEO. After joining IBM, the first thing he had to do was deal with the company's precarious financial position. This part reveals just how bad the position of IBM was at that time. The author recalls the challenges and the obstacles he faced while trying to put the company back on track. Plans to fragment the company, inter-departmental competitiveness, inconsistent global policies, and the rapidly declining sales were just a few of the hurdles Gerstner had to cross.
Within the first few months, he put forth a new strategy which was considered bold and controversial. The second part, Strategy, reveals how Gerstner revolutionized the company by targeting the internal issues first. Office politics and corporate culture were altered, and the finances were set straight. This part shows how this CEO pulled the company together. Part 3 shows how Gerstner brought about a change in the culture. He prioritized the customer. He brought IBM and its customers closer, and set the company on its path to success. IBM was transformed from a process driven company to a customer-driven business, which could stand its ground in the volatile tech market, amid the likes of Microsoft and Intel.
In the last two chapters, Lessons Learnt and Observations, he shares with the reader the wisdom that he gained during this period of transformation and overhauling. Gerstner has revealed his tactics in a methodical, step-by-step manner. He gives us a detailed account of how he took up this huge challenge, and successfully turned it around.
About Louis V. Gerstner
Louis V. Gerstner is the former CEO of IBM and RJR Nabisco. Gerstner is also the co-author of Reinventing Education: Entrepreneurship in America's Public Schools. Gerstner was born in 1942 in Mineola, New York. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1963. He completed his MBA from Harvard Business School and started his career in 1965. Gerstner has worked for McKinsey & Company, Inc. and American Express, where he went on to become the President. He then worked with RJR Nabisco as the Chairman and CEO for 4 years, before joining IBM. In 2003, Gerstner became the Chairman of The Carlyle Group. He retired in 2008, but continues to be its senior advisor. Gerstner has received an honorary British Knighthood, and many honorary degrees from various universities. He has strongly supported cancer research.