Apparently very angry employees mixed with very angry clients does not lead to revenue growth
My not yet retired friend tells me about the today's culture at IBM and I must wonder about their business model. As she tells it they at a point in time where they now have a generation of management that knows nothing about their clients...only their internal process and that they focus relentlessly on cutting cost, robbing employees, short changing clients, and mind numbing processes for any approvals of any nature.
They hire checkers to check the checkers and if there is a dollar to be saved at the expense of employees then so be it. They focus on everything but selling according to her account. They are out gunned in the sales markets, slow to react to simple requests, make less than 1 sales call per week and only then with a room full of IBM people half of which flew in from out of town to make the call.
She's a very loyal employee so I take her ramblings seriously but I imagine there is a little 'that's not the way it used to be' mixed in there but it sounds like they are off the success track.
Hope not as I own some shares but it has given me pause.....
A lot of what you say is true. Suffice it to say, IBM is too process oriented, resulting in a demoralizing culture at the line level. The cost cutting is insulting, even when one is well paid...as competitors can both pay you well & offer a perks that build teamwork, synergy, and corporate identity. If there is anything that can threaten IBM, this would be it.
IBM still has tremendous people, tremendous R&D, and deep pockets. I have to believe management will wake up & correct this problem. It would be monumental stupidity not to. I just don't believe IBM management would be so stupid. 100 years of success attests to adaptability, innovation, and leadership vision. I'm betting on this.
Lastly, some IBM employees also contribute to the problem. They too hide behind process, obfuscating and blocking talent. Some all too easily let themselves get pigeonholed into work that will soon be obsolete, refusing to take the initiative to train. Again, this is something IBM must work on...let the cream of the crop rise, throw perks as well as pay at them...make the best & brightest believe in being an IBMer again.
Should management be asked to wake up to correct the problem, or bow out and make way for new blood? Waking up with the same old ideas and strategies that haven't worked does a corporation like IBM no good. The inbreeding of the management mentality at IBM leaves them ensconced in the mire of repeating old mistakes, and changing course to suit the ebb and flow of the short-term tides, rather than ride out the storm by steering a true course.
"They hire checkers to check the checkers and if there is a dollar to be saved at the expense of employees then so be it. They focus on everything but selling according to her account. They are out gunned in the sales markets, slow to react to simple requests, make less than 1 sales call per week and only then with a room full of IBM people half of which flew in from out of town to make the call."
The statement above contains some conflicting claims. The prior and current IBM CEO's came up thru sales. They are out-gunned by whom? IBM's x86 server biz, like operations of HPQ, ORCL, DELL ,for example, has effectively been changed by software and taken over by Asia where production is dirt cheap. The technology advanced and is causing dislocations because like PC's the biz has been commoditized.
I'll wager many IT baby boomers at IBM and elsewhere who are not very aggressive at keeping up with change feel lost today. Folks who are not constantly updating their skill sets are risking being replaced.
I've listened to an old IBM engineer who lives in my hood talk about the old days many times. It happens to the IT generation facing retirement over & over as skills that served them well become irrelevant.
Another good post. IBM indeed needs to focus on keeping older employees relevant and gainfully employed. But crucially, IBM needs to attract, retain, and empower talented young people.
You are dead on about some IBMers not staying up to date. In a company of 450k employees and ubiquitous process, it is all too easy to get away with this. This problem is aggravated when managers apply cost cutting as a remedy, as opposed to proper management of employees.
Companies like Google, Facebook, and even SAP are bottom up driven. They throw perks at their employees, yet remain efficient. They make their employees believe it's more than just a paycheck.
Again, once IBM figures this out...and I believe they will...they will be an even bigger juggernaut than they are already. It says something that IBM has gotten away with less than optimal employee management the past decade. The core is solid...just needs a cosmetic makeover.