Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bestselling Books on Organizational Change

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Values-Based CM

I've been thinking where I should create a review of the interview with IBM CEO Samuel J. Palmisano in the HBR of December 2004. I believe what Palmisano says is primarily his organizational CM vision so I've put it here. However the interview is equaly important for people having an interest in leadership, value based M., corporate responsibility and human capital M.

In the interview Palmisano describes how he dealt with the situation that he needed to change IBM in a period that business was (finally) doing well after the period in which Lou Gerstner brought the company back from the brink in the 80s.

It was necessary to get different parts of the organization working together so IBM could offer customers integrated solutions (hardware, software, services ands financing) at a single price on a global scale. Also Palmisano wanted to enable decision-making as deep as possible into Big Blue IBM and last but not least to revitalize the perception of IBM's workforce that working for IBM makes a difference.

Palmisano decided to put values in the center of his CM approach, which led to what he calls a Values-Based M. system. A crucial role in the entire process was played by a three-day discussion forum on IBM's intranet, which was called "ValuesJam", in which an estimated 50.000 of IBM's employees posted nearly 10.000 comments about the proposed draft values for IBM.

By thus empowering IBM's own workforce, Palmisano succesfully gained momentum and support for the changes he wanted to implement, ensuring people make the right decisions in the right way. An by 'right' he's not only talking about ethics and legal compliance, but also about strategy, brand and culture. Looking back, Palmisano thinks values inject balance in the company culture and M. system: balance between the short-term transaction and the long-term relationship, balance between the interest of shareholders, employees and clients.