THINK Again is about IBM, its leaders, its employees, its shareholders, its customers, its supportive societies, and one-hundred years of their unique interactions. IBM has had its great, good, and bad moments; and, in this century, some of its ugliest. But there is still hope.
THINK Again is about IBM, but it IS NOT a technical book; “mainframe” is the most technical term used. THINK Again discusses IBM’s finances, but it IS NOT a financial book; “goodwill” is the most complex financial term used to discuss the company’s twentieth-century creation of good goodwill, and its twenty-first-century over-production of bad goodwill. It IS a book about one of America’s greatest corporations: a business that deciphered the seemingly, impenetrable human equation to build an enthusiastic, engaged and passionate workforce that produced ever-higher revenue and profit productivity for eighty-five years.
THINK Again is about IBM’s leaders and the risks they have taken. It is about a chief executive officer who personally sacrificed to deliver promised benefits to his employees. It is about a corporation that contributed to the survival of democracy during one of democracy’s darkest hours—World War II. It is about the twentieth century’s greatest investment gamble that delivered the mainframe. It is also about a corporation that in the twenty-first century has lost its institutional memory: it no longer understands the essence of the human business equation—that an enthusiastic, engaged and passionate employee is a productive employee. This failure has caused a disastrous, seventeen-year work slowdown unlike anything in IBM’s history; not because of a labor union but from a natural human response to poor human resource practices. To find prosperity in its second century, IBM will need a new leader who will execute a business-first strategy that returns value to all the corporation’s stakeholders.