You know you're in for an interesting conversation when the Executive Vice President of Human Resources begins a discussion on succession planning and the company's development of future leaders with a story about signage.
It's the type of founder's story that makes the rounds in a company—one of those inner circle stories that those who have been with EMC long enough just grin and nod as if they already know the punch line to a well-timed joke.
Today EMC is a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver information technology (IT) as a service. However, a big part of the company's success DNA can be attributed to founder Richard (Dick) Egan who didn't bother to remove the name of the defunct technology company whose building they took over as a not-so-gentle reminder of what can happen when you get too comfortable.
Egan kept the failed Prime Computer name in the main conference room so that employees would remember to focus on the customer, embrace change, and really think about what it takes to be successful long-term in whatever strategy they went after; otherwise, EMC would become the next Prime Computer.
“These companies came up with ideas but weren't able to execute against those ideas. Just peel that back, and there's a fundamental reason—they either didn't have the courage or the discipline to really talk about what is it going to take to be successful in that new strategy. ...