Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. was the CEO of IBM from 1993 to 2002. His book – “Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?” – is a really good read. But this entry is less about the book than my reaction to reading one part of it.
So in the book, in 1993, Gerstner wanted to streamline IBM’s marketing. At the time, IBM’s business units all did their own marketing, and resistance to this centralisation was quite naturally expected. In an important senior management meeting to get buy-in for this plan, Gerstner’s newly hired head of Corporate Marketing did a very smart thing: she plastered the room’s walls with the disparate marketing material from the different IBM business units. Faced with the mess (which Gerstner described memorably as a “train wreck of brand and product positioning”), no one objected.
My initial reaction to that was: That’s so well done. Really brilliant!
Then I thought of my boss, who likes to present information and plans visually at meetings, often in unconventional ways. And I made a resolution to see the usefulness in that and to support that in future.
Then I realised that a book written by a stranger (one with credentials and credibility, of course, but still…) had so easily convinced me of something – the usefulness of my boss’s visual presentations – that had been in my face all this time.
The average bear should reflect on this a bit, I think.