Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: Leading a Great Enterprise Through Dramatic Change
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What We're Saying
There are only a few people in the media who know business books as well as Jack and I. Hardy Green, an associate editor at BusinessWeek, is one of those people. We met with Hardy in New York two weeks ago and he quickly commenced with critiquing our selections for The 100 Best. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
On April 1, 1993, Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. began his remarkable career at IBM as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. It was a job that had been repeatedly passed up by the top CEO titans in America-Jack Welch of General Electric, Larry Bossidy of Allied Signal, George Fisher of Motorola, Bill Gates of Microsoft-and had initially even been rejected by Gerstner himself when he was the first candidate offered the momentous opportunity in December 1992. Although viewed by the general public as a national treasure, at that time in the American corporate landscape IBM was unanimously considered a plodding dinosaur in the technology industry, with sales and profits declining at a steadily alarming rate. Lacking vision and clinging to their mainframe mentality, they missed out on the first wave of the personal computer revolution. Transforming the financial ledger from the red to the black for a company of such size and magnitude as the iconic IBM was considered a suicide mission that even the savviest CEO was afraid to undertake. But, as Gerstner bluntly explains in his book Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: Leading a Great Enterprise Through Dramatic Change, "I have always been drawn to a challenge." In the surprisingly candid Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. escorts students through one of the greatest turnarounds in history as he recounts how he brought IBM back from the brink of corporate insolvency to lead the computer business once again, just like in its earlier halcyon days of the 1960s and 1970s. Offering a unique case study drawn from decades of experience at some of America's top companies, such as McKinsey, American Express, and RJR Nabisco, Gerstner's penetrating insights into management and leadership are applicable to any business, at any level, and will help your business students understand which dynamics make a company achieve greatness from top to bottom. Ranging from strategy to public relations, from finance to organization, Gerstner reveals the hard-won life lessons of running highly successful and competitive companies.