A View from Beneath the Dancing Elephant
Many IBMers see Louis V. Gerstner as the savior of their company—indeed, Gerstner sees himself that way. Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? expresses this perspective quite well. What Gerstner never realized is that much of his success came from accidentally tapping into an eighty-year-old culture that he never understood. IBM’s founders, the Watsons, created this culture in the 1910s, and then codified it in the 1950s with the creation of three Basic Beliefs: Respect, Service and Excellence.
But today’s IBM has lost its culture, its constitution and its way. Surely a century-old corporation is more than its founding words; but great leaders do not seek to abolish a people’s constitution, rather they seek a return to its original intent.
This book captures how that change occurred—a view from beneath the dancing elephant.
“Peter’s book is brilliant! He courageously puts an “undiscussable” on America’s boardroom tables and asks, “Are you unaware, or do you not care?”
In his well-documented and researched book, Peter shares the compelling history and stories about the saga of IBM. He addresses a major issue facing America and the world: the lack of leadership and the shift from invigorating and empowering cultures to work environments full of bureaucracy, frequent layoffs, executive greed and arrogance. Survival is optional, even for the Fortune 500. But some are huge dinosaurs; it just takes longer for them to come to their knees. Peter’s call to action for leaders to lead is mandatory. Who will rise to the challenge, and who will sink into the abyss?”
Reviews from around the world
- It should be required reading for any business class. I know I am going to use it in my classes at the college level.
- A book all IBMers, past and present, should read.
- An excellent read, and reminder of the things that made me proud to be an IBMer.
- An insightful, brave, well-researched book about IBM's sad direction.
- A genuine opportunity to learn from history.
- Reading this will give you an excellent picture of how IBM lost its greatest asset.
- A humane and personal perspective on IBM's journey as a corporation.
- Having spent 10.5 years from the late 1990's through 2008, Peter captured the environment almost too well.
- A touching, brilliant accounting of IBM's transition.
- A great counter-point to Gerstner's book.