Who says elephants can’t dance?

When Lou Gerstner took the helm of IBM as its CEO in 1993, the com- pany was a shambles — hemorrhaging money, drained by an insular corpo- rate culture, and rapidly falling prey to smaller companies that could make the same products better, faster and for less money. Wall Street was calling for its breakup into small, independent business units, but Gerstner had other things in mind — to keep the company together, change the way it (and, eventually, its entire industry) did business, and show it could keep up with and even surpass the startups and small businesses presenting its biggest challenges. Lou Gerstner thought the enormous corporate elephant could dance as gracefully as its much smaller competition. He was right.