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The Momentum Effect by Jean Claude Larreche

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4

Compelling insights

IBM is listening again

‘How could such truly talented people allow themselves to get into such a morass?’ So asked Lou Gerstner in response to what he found when he joined IBM as chairman and CEO in 1993, with the brief of turning around the faltering company.1 The story of Gerstner’s revival of IBM has become hackneyed through admiring repetition, but that admiration is more than justified. Pertinently for us, the story neatly illustrates the importance of the first stage of momentum design.

Almost immediately on arrival he realized that IBM, which had always been famously customer-centred, was no longer focusing on the external world. It was obsessed by internal processes and systems. Senior executives talked mostly ...

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