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Summarize result (27%)

said to be geat, they alsoguarded against eelings ofself-satisfaction.Opel concluded: "If any of us in our company behave in any way
that reinforces the idea ofsmugness ofpower or arrogance, then our
image could be severely tarnished. The hero of today can become
the bum of tomorrow."But
during those same years, IBM failed to see the growing commoditi-
zation ofits main business lines-mainframe computer systems and
minicomputers.Opels successor, John Akers,
was replaced.


Original text

said to be geat, they alsoguarded against eelings ofself-satisfaction.
Opel concluded: "If any of us in our company behave in any way
that reinforces the idea ofsmugness ofpower or arrogance, then our
image could be severely tarnished. The hero of today can become
the bum of tomorrow."
Thats the way it looked in 1984, and of course it seemed rea-
sonable. Every day, John Opel came to work and found himself sur-
rounded by smart, creative, hardworking people. It was only natural
to think that IBMs great people were responsible for its success. But
during those same years, IBM failed to see the growing commoditi-
zation ofits main business lines-mainframe computer systems and
minicomputers. By the end of the 1980s, IBM was slipping badly;
and by 1992, it was awash in red ink. Opels successor, John Akers,
was replaced. How did observers explain IBMs poor performance?
By pointing the finger at its people and company culture, ofcourse.
In Big Blues: De Unmaking ofIBM, Wall StreetJoumal reporter Paul
Carroll criticized the companfs "button-down culture," its "rigid
bureaucracy," and its "complacent executives." The same people
who were praised in 1984 now were blamed for the decline of a
great industrial enterprise. Had they suddenly changed their ways?
Probably not. Had the CEO been blind about his people-had they
been complacent and rigid all along? I dont think so. John Opel was
probably entirely honest when he sensed that he was surrounded by
hardworking, excellent people. And they were well-suited for IBM of
the 1960s and 1970s. But when the industry changed and IBM
missed the turn in the road, its people were on the receiving end of
a very different attribution. Our evaluations depend on whether we
think were seeing a lady or a flower girl.

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