Sunday, July 17, 2005

Lord Vader at IBM

I was lucky to work for IBM during their spectacular turnaround in the mid 90's.

I was only working as a lowly desktop publishing specialist, but I could feel the amazing "imperial" atmosphere created by Lord Vader, I mean, CEO Lou Gertsner.

For the first time in IBM's history, Gertsner had the power to fire anybody. In a conference with big clients, he would publicly ask a client what his big problem was, and who was the IBM executive handling his account.

Then, on the spot, he would promise the client that his problem will be resolved that very afternoon by the publicly named IBM executive.

Sure, it's ruthless, but I believe there was no other way for Gertsner to signal his resolve to make Big Blue work once more as a great company.

I remember the key line of the new IBM culture: "Committed to each other and committed to win."

This seems like a good tagline for anyone who joins LinkedIn and is serious about helping their connections while also serious about tapping opportunities through their connections.