A different perspective on unemployment from another great industrialist from America's 20th Century business leadership. Select image above or the icon below to read more about Owen D. Young, Chairman of the Board of General Electric Company.
Peter E. Greulich
It seems appropriate this week to post about how layoffs affect work and family. At IBM the employees have lived with constant layoffs--called resource actions in IBM speak, since Lou Gerstner took over the company in 1993.
This is one example of how Gerstner's elephant--and that of his successor's, "danced" on the livelihoods of their employees.
These are chapters from Peter E. Greulich's "A View from Beneath the Dancing Elephant" a different perspective from Lou Gerstner's "Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?"
It explains why IBM's employee productivity has been dropping for more than two decades.
It seems our corporate leadership should be reading this.
"It dawned upon me that interpretation of truth, or the righteousness of either side of a question depended upon the sources of information and an open-minded willingness to examine different views."
Daniel C. Roper's Autobiography, Fifty Years of Public Life, 1941
As applicable today in a social-media-driven world as it was in the rock-and-spear Stone Age, and all the eras in between. Daniel C. Roper was the United States Secretary of Commerce during Tom Watson's time at IBM. Fundamentally, thinking is important but also the sources of information that your thinking is founded on.
A good case for the social sciences and attaining a wide, generalized education.
Peter E. Greulich, January 19, 2023
“I don't have much patience with people I hear saying that it is impossible to get good people for jobs. . . . Won't it follow naturally that if a business idea is basically sound it will draw to itself quality people, not only because of the job but because they want to be connected with a business whose underlying idea has vigor, and offers scope for individual initiative?"
“My advice to young people today is to let no day pass without pushing personal standards a notch higher. The law of struggle is the essence of all life—animal, vegetable, and human. Our progress from birth to death is marked by struggle, and rightly so, for when we cease to struggle, dry rot takes over. . . . Young people who count not their hours but their opportunities are the ones who maintain the difficult road to success.”
Select the link below to read book reviews of J. C. Penney's "Fifty Years With the Golden Rule."
Peter E. Greulich, Author
“I had been in Luxembourg nine months when I returned to Washington for a consultation with the State Department, a customary procedure with ambassadors and ministers. … After my Washington consultations, I went up to New York for a few days and was given a luncheon there that I consider one of the greatest honors of my life [emphasis added].”
“Matthew Woll, the A. F. of L. Vice-President … got together with his friend and mine, Thomas Watson, President of International Business Machines, to co-host the affair."
Perle (Pearl) Mesta
The "Famous Leaders" Series of books spanned a timeframe from 1920 to 1955. There was one "Famous Leaders of Character" and a series of six "Famous Leaders of Industry." The target audience was the adolescent reader. It is important to understand the audience to set the proper expectations. I did not realize this when I read the last in the series--The Sixth Series, first.
“Famous Leaders of Industry (with a new author: Trentwell M. White) discusses the lives of twenty-five men who have had the courage and independence … to work night and day to bring the results of their thinking to fruition.”
Trentwell M. White
IBM's 20th Century Corporate Constitution was referred to as "The Basic Beliefs."
Whatever form a corporate constitution takes it must provide three things: (1) It must provide a consistent, ever-present, guiding light—a “north star” by which individuals navigate rough organizational terrain; (2) It must provide the mechanism by which the organization defines its objectives—goals that aren’t necessarily monetary but—if achieved—rewards success with a monetary gain; (3) It must provide an internal mechanism that demands an ever-constant evolution—it should institutionalize change.
"When the last glacier retreated northward from what is now Connecticut, it left behind as mementos of its visit, great boulders of rock which are now strewn lavishly across the state.
"Today, its irresistible growth has torn the massive rock into fragments. This is the law of life. The future belongs not to rigid absolutes, whether they are primal rocks of unyielding social arrangements, but to the thing that can grow, whether it is a tree or a democracy."
Raymond B. Fosdick, "We Must Not Be Afraid of Change,"
The New York Times, April 3, 1949
This is the starting few paragraphs to a full article written by Raymond B. Fosdick. If you think that what we are facing today is a new threat to democracy, I would highly recommend reading it in its entirety. Change and the discussion of change is the way of a people united through democracy . . . a diversity, not so much achieved through shades of color or non-color—black and white, but . . . through thoughtful discussion.
Peter E. Greulich
"We got a peace of a sort almost five years ago [post World War II]. It has been more or less with us in the guise of what we call a cold war. …
It would seem that this fundamental truth holds true whether it is in international relationships or within our own political system here at home. "Bodily harm" cannot be the means to make individuals agree.
To preserve the freedom of speech, we have an obligation to listen to each other.
Peter E. Greulich, December 2022
For the last three decades, IBM has been industry-leading in this measurement.
Charts of IBM's history of performance in this area and an overview of the IBM-Samsung positioning of themselves for patent leadership is available by following the link below or selecting the image above.
Peter E. Greulich
Peter E. Greulich
Pete has been studying IBM and early American corporate history since his retirement in 2011. These are his thoughts and musings, and of those whose biographies he has read with links to articles and book reviews on this website.