sam palmisano’s legacy: teaching a giant to run

brand-as-business bit:  Sam Palmisano, CEO of IBM from 2002-2012, stepped down from his post on Sunday.  I’ve been an admirer for years.

The New York Times ran a great piece about Palmisano’s impact on the venerable company, including increasing its stock market value to $217BB, making it more nimble and innovative, and focusing its thinking with a four question framework:

  • “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”
  • “Why would somebody work for you?”
  • “Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”
  • “And why would somebody invest their money with you?”
Interrogating your value to each stakeholder group — customers, employees, communities, and investors — is a wise and balanced approach.


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