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July 7, 1993

IT’s THE SALES FORCE, STUPID! GERSTNER RECKONS HE KNOWS WHAT’s WRONG WITH IBM

By CBR Staff Writer

If something is clearly needs fixing badly, the temptation of the engineer has to be to plunge in, take it apart and look for the problems. The wise engineer resists the temptation and watches the thing running for a bit – albeit with the hood up or the lid off – observes, and thinks deeply before doing anything at all. The latter strategy seems to be the one being followed by Louis Gerstner, who according to a memo seen by the Wall Street Journal, has determined that the part most in need of fixing is the marketing organisation – but he wants to watch it in action for a few more months before deciding how to go about fixing it. While he told managers, it is clear to me that our current marketing organisation doesn’t always function well, doesn’t always permit us to serve our customer in the most efficient and effective way, he sees any major reform threatening customer loyalty.

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