The Higher They Go, the Stupider They Get

from Revenue Journal :: The Higher They Go, the Stupider They Get:

Lou Gerstner is one of the best examples of a customer-centric CEO. If you're in management, and you haven't read his book, Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? you're missing a great read--and insight into what made him so successful. Before he came to IBM, he was an IBM customer, and a consultant to large companies. He knew the traps that CEOs can fall into. As a customer, he was fully aware of the stupid mistakes that managers make.

When he first started his job as the CEO of IBM, instead of calling a bunch of meetings with employees and analysts to discuss His Grand Strategy, he horrified college professors and reporters by saying that the last thing IBM needed at that point was another 'vision.' Worse, he spent the bulk of his first three months visiting customers. He continued to spend about 40% of his time talking to customers during his tenure at IBM. How many CEOs can say they do that?

And I'm not talking about spending time with big-ticket prospects, closing the deal. When the CEO is acting as the company's Top Salesperson, the customers he's talking to will be just as cagey and close-mouthed as they are with their regular salesperson. The CEO won't learn anything useful in that situation.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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