Lou Gerstner quotes

  • Fixing culture is the most critical − and the most difficult − part of a corporate transformation… In the end, management doesn’t change culture. Management invites the workforce itself to change the culture.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Culture #Fixing #Management

  • If life was so easy that you could just go buy success, there would be a lot more successful companies in the world. Successful enterprises are built from the ground up.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Successful #Would Be #World

  • Computers are magnificent tools for the realization of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love, and understanding.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Inspirational #Dream #Compassion

  • It is not about bits, bytes and protocols, but profits, losses and margins.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Loss #Technology #Profit

  • Watch the turtle. He only moves forward by sticking his neck out.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Perseverance #Moving #Turtles

  • In the end an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Organization #People #Ends

  • You can never be comfortable with your success, you've got to be paranoid you're going to lose it.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Paranoid

  • I just think we should look at this as a chess match," he said, "between the world's greatest chess player and Garry Kasparov.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Player #Thinking #Looks

  • We built this company from the customer back, not from the company out.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Business #Company

  • I want to take IBM back to its roots.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Roots #Want #Ibm

  • I'm leery of legislative solutions to what is morality.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Morality #Solutions

  • What I'm trying to do is deliver results, not promises; results, not vision; results, not concepts. The world is cynical about IBM's promises.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Cynical #Promise #Vision

  • I initially wanted to be a teacher, and then I was going to become an engineer and build bridges and highways, but pretty soon I went into the business world. I never did get to be a teacher except in a different way.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Teacher #Bridges #Different

  • I've been accepted at Cambridge University. I want to study Chinese history and archaeology. I want to become a student. I want to read Chinese history and go on a dig.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Chinese #Goes On #Want

  • Quite frankly, I am not very comfortable in chitchat. When I go to board meetings, I arrive two minutes before and leave when it's over. I don't stay for lunch or go early and have coffee.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Coffee #Two #Lunch

  • We do not need Departments of Commerce, Labor, and Education; we need a single Department of Skills that will promote an integrated approach to global competitiveness.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Skills #Needs #Integrated

  • What we believe is going to be very important is the delivery of traditional software and services and hardware over the Net. That's a form of electronic marketplace.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Believe #Important #Form

  • When a manufacturing company in Spain looks to IBM for a solution to a problem, they expect us to bring the best of IBM worldwide to it, not just the experience of IBM Spain.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Spain #Looks #Problem

  • If the practices and processes inside a company don't drive the execution of values, then people don't get it. The question is, do you create a culture of behavior and action that really demonstrates those values and a reward system for those who adhere to them?
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Leadership #Practice #People

  • The rewards system is a powerful driver of behavior and therefore culture.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Leadership #Powerful #Culture

  • For the first month, I listened, and I tried very hard not to draw conclusions
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Listening #Months #Firsts

  • The thing I have learned at IBM is that culture is everything.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Culture #I Have Learned #Ibm

  • I want to become a student. I want to read Chinese history and go on a dig.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Chinese #Goes On #Want

  • The last thing IBM needs right now is a vision.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Vision #Needs #Lasts

  • No institution will go through fundamental change unless it believes it is in deep trouble and needs to do something different to survive.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Believe #Different #Needs

  • This really is a merger of equals. I wouldn't have come back to work for anything less than this fantastic opportunity. This lets me combine my two great loves - technology and biscuits.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Positive #Technology #Opportunity

  • You don't get points for predicting rain. You get points for building arks.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Rain #Ark #Building

  • If CEO compensation was performance-driven, which I believe it was in IBM's case, nobody would ever argue. If the shareholders didn't make billions and billions of dollars, I wouldn't make millions of dollars. My salary was the same for 10 years. It was all performance-based.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Believe #Years #Salary

  • Visit USA.gov and you'll find thousands of directorates, agencies, boards, offices, and services replete with overlapping responsibilities, ancient priorities, and divided accountability.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Responsibility #Agency #Usa

  • The more successful enterprises are the more they try to replicate, duplicate, codify what makes us great. And suddenly they're inward thinking. They're thinking how can we continue to do what we've done in the past without understanding that what made them successful is to take risks, to change and to adapt and to be responsive. And so in a sense success breeds its own failure. And I think it's true of a lot of successful businesses.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Business #Successful #Past

  • You can’t mandate [cultural change], can’t engineer it. What you can do is create the conditions for transformation. You can provide incentives. You can define the marketplace realities and goals. But then you have to trust. In fact, in the end, management doesn’t change culture. Management invites the workforce itself to change the culture.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Reality #Goal #Culture

  • Vision is easy. It's so easy to just point to the bleachers and say I'm going to hit one over there. What's hard is saying, OK, how do I do that? What are the specific programs, what are the commitments, what are the resources, what are the processes we need in play to go implement the vision, turn it into a working model that people follow every day in the enterprise. That's hard work.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Commitment #Hard Work #Play

  • I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn't just one aspect of the game; it is the game
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Games #Culture #Aspect

  • When I arrived at IBM, there were 'Team' signs all around. I asked, 'How do people get paid?' They told me, 'We pay people based on individual performance.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Team #People #Pay

  • The fundamental issue is: In the world of the Internet, is there a place for a packager of services? Does the customer want to go surf the Net and go to every one of 50,000 Web sites? Or will people pay a reasonable amount for somebody to go out and preselect and package what they want? My guess is they will both coexist.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Issues #People #Doe

  • The Internet is ultimately about innovation and integration, but you don't get the innovation unless you integrate Web technology into the processes by which you run your business.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Running #Technology #Innovation

  • The networked world offers the promise that maybe the information technology industry will start to, for the first time in a decade or so, address CEO-level issues.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Technology #Issues #Promise

  • Never confuse activity with results.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Results

  • The real mechanism for corporate governance is the active involvement of the owners.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Real #Owners #Involvement

  • People don't do what you expect but what you inspect.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #People

  • Everything starts with the customer.
    -- Lou Gerstner

  • I have always believed you cannot run a successful enterprise from behind a desk.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Running #Business #Successful

  • I don't want to use the word reorganization. Reorganization to me is shuffling boxes, moving boxes around. Transformation means that you're really fundamentally changing the way the organization thinks, the way it responds, the way it leads. It's a lot more than just playing with boxes.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Moving #Mean #Thinking

  • Customer complaints are the schoolbooks from which we learn.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Complaints

  • The next thing is: we can make IBM even better. We brought IBM back but we're gunning for leadership.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Leadership #Next #Ibm

  • Lou Gerstner knows how to do a deal, and George Bush Sr., less so.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Deals

  • I think that my leadership style is to get people to fear staying in place, to fear not changing.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Thinking #People #Style

  • I think values are really, really important, but I also think that too many values are just words.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Thinking #Important #Values

  • A lot of people saved IBM. Yes, I was the leader of that team, but I could never have done it without a group of IBMers helping me.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Team #People #Leader

  • I firmly believe that IBM's size can be used to its advantage.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Believe #Size #Used

  • My parents worked enormously hard to put four children through college. We didn't have a lot of money.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Children #College #Parent

  • Our military should be trained and structured around missions, not the elements of air, water, and land.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Military #Air #Land

  • The world is full of CEOs that think that just because they write a memo or they write a letter inside an annual report or they give a little video speech that gets sent around the company, they think that's what's really going to affect employees.
    -- Lou Gerstner

    #Writing #Thinking #Giving