This is a story adapted from an insight by Charles M. Schwab. The executive tale provides a unique perspective into what made the 20th Century IBM so great--building cathedrals, and what is causing the slow deterioration of the 21st Century IBM--laying brick:
Have you asked three employees what they are doing today? Are they earning a paycheck or building cathedrals? Yes, your employees own their self-motivation, but executives own the surrounding, cultural atmosphere that gives purpose to "laying brick."
Thomas J. Watson Sr. created at IBM an atmosphere of "Democracy in Business." Download and read this free article by Peter E. Greulich. It is his research into Watson Sr.'s philosophy of instilling a democratic spirit into his business--the 20th Century IBM.
"Democracy" can and should be your corporate atmosphere.
Build cathedrals: Manage By Wandering Around!
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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.