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A View from Beneath the Dancing Elephant: Rediscovering IBM's Corporate Constitution Kindle Edition
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I'm not sure what non-IBM readers would make of it - some of it is an analysis of how the company has changed and the implications for its success but a lot of it is really a personal reminiscence of the author's experiences working for IBM - the good and the bad. Anyone who worked for IBM in the old-days (60s, 70s or 80s) will probably enjoy it for nostalgic reasons. For others, it offers an insight into how a long-term commitment to a few clear, basic beliefs can be so effective in ensuring a company's long-term success.
I resigned in 1987 - partly because I could see the writing on the wall - the impending Financialisation of MY company!
When I read your book, tears came to my eyes as I read your very well written account about how my 1987 predictions had played out in the following years.
Your book provides solid evidence to show how Financialisation in the boardroom wrecks companies and public institutions.
The clarity of your description of IBM's history provides a unique case study of how a great business can be created and how easily it can be wrecked by executives who only care about money.
Thanks for all your efforts in creating this masterpiece.
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Thanks Pete for an excellent and easy read, and a memorable walk down memory lane.
Another few points on the culture. IBM was very buttoned up when I arrived in 1966 but overall I liked it as the culture was defined and adhered to. The 'always wear white shirts' was somewhat extreme but bearable. Reading and completing the "Code of Conduct" each year (and if you were late, they would find you) was a good way to push out what you wanted to have happen as a company (and I had seen at least one person fired for violating the code). The sales organization in the early days was amazing, executive contacts at most customers, integrated with the customer on their facilities where it made sense etc. It really felt that you had a mission and that was to help make that customer successful, this lesson was never forgotten by me. I did like the attitude surveys and the 'opportunity' for a manager to cover his/her results with their subordinates, it was eye opening no matter what position you were in. The 'don't talk about your salary with anyone' was very punitive and certainly not the norm today, at least outside of IBM. I personally learned a tremendous amount of valuable skills and knowledge while working for IBM and helped launch my career both inside and outside IBM. Most of my skills and knowledge were learned at IBM and expanded after leaving in 1983.