IBM and Peter F. Drucker: An Obligation to Confront Corporate Issues
Encouraging Criticism of Corporate Decisions
"It is the right as well as the duty of every managerial employee to criticize a central management decision which he considers mistaken or ill advise. In fact, the one definition I could obtain as to who is considered an executive in General Motors was: 'A man who would be expected to protest officially against a policy decision to which he objects.' Such criticism is not only not penalized; it is encouraged as a sign of initiative and of an active interest in the business. It is always taken seriously and given real consideration."
Peter F. Drucker
The Concept of the Corporation, 1964
Advice to Young Men Entering the Business
"Take orders gracefully. A man who cannot take orders gracefully will never be in a position to give orders. Do not be afraid to be critical of us, if you think we are not running this business properly. But do not criticize us to your fellow workmen. Go direct to headquarters. We are always anxious to receive constructive criticism, but we do not care for destructive criticism. That helps no one.
"Always make up your mind before you criticize that you are going to think out some plan that you believe is better, and then come and present it to us. You would be surprised at the number of changes we make in the handling of the affairs of IBM through suggestions we receive from men like yourselves. We want you to keep that in mind and be among the builders of this company.
"We want you to think of The IBM as it will be ten years from now when this factory will be twice as large as it is today and work with a view to placing yourself in a position to say at that time, 'Well, I have helped build half of this factory since I have been with this company.' "
Thomas. J. Watson Sr.
Volume III of Tom Watson Sr. Essay on Leadership
Tabulating Machine Sales School Number 57, 1930
Tom Watson Sr. was also known for not waiting for employees to come to him. He went to them. He practiced what would later be coined in the 70's business world as "management by wandering around" or MBWA. He would show up unannounced and sit down with employees to gather information on the health of the business. In this philosophy can be seen the beginnings of Tom Watson Jr.'s once very active and widely used: Speak up!, Executive Interview, Open Door and Employee Suggestion programs.
Peter E. Greulich Insight
March 9, 2013
March 9, 2013
Peter E. Greulich is an author, publisher and public speaker.
He has written three books on IBM and three essays on Thomas J. Watson Sr.’s leadership during the Great Depression. His latest book, Think Again!: IBM CAN Maximize Shareholder Value is a sweeping historical look at IBM and its nine chief executives. It puts a spotlight on IBM's current human resource practices in light of IBM’s time-tested, human-relationship achievements.
THINK Again! is a different perspective from Louis V. Gerstner’s Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance. Pete's thoughts are always a view from beneath—the perspective of an IBM employee-owner. IBMers with stories to share can reach Pete at IBMers @ mbiconcepts.com.