S-t-r-e-t-c-h to serve: Customer service is the key

If anyone questions the value of “stretching” & the overall effect it has on success…they only have to read this story of Thomas J. Watson Jr.!!!!!!!!!!!!

stretch to serveIn May 1956, four years after becoming IBM’s president, Thomas J. Watson Jr., succeeded his father as Chief Executive Officer.

When the son first assumed command a half-century ago, IBM employed 72,500 people worldwide and produced $892 million in revenue. When he resigned as board chairman 15 years later, IBM had grown to more than 270,000 employees and revenue of $8.274 billion. In that same 15-year period, the company’s net income after taxes had risen from $87 million to $1.079 billion.

During his uncommon life, Tom Watson, Jr.:Transformed IBM from a medium-sized member of the top 100 U.S. businesses into one of the largest industrial corporations in the world.

Built IBM into a divisionalized and professionally-managed high technology enterprise.

Recognized the potential of electronics in information handling and drove IBM’s transition from punched card tabulators and clocks to transistors and integrated circuits.

Pushed the development of the IBM 701 and IBM System/360 — two landmark developments in the history of the computer.

Abolished the hourly wage in IBM, introduced tuition loans and pioneered matching grants for charities.

Advocated federal aid for the poor, better national health care and nuclear disarmament.

Served his nation in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and as the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1979-1981.

Here’s a excerpt from his book ‘A business and its beliefs: The ideas that helped build IBM’.

These are not small things. The relationship between the man and the customer, the importance of reputation, the idea of putting the customer first – always – all these things, if carried out with real conviction by a company, can make a great deal of difference in its destiny.

In time, good service became almost a reflex in IBM, and father loved to show what the company could do. In 1942, an official of the War Production Board gave him a perfect excuse to do it. The WPB man called him late on the afternoon of Good Friday to place an order for 150 machines, challenging him to deliver the equipment by the following Monday in Washington, D.C. Father said he would have the machines there on time. On Saturday morning, he and his staff phones IBM offices all over the country and instructed them to get some 150 machines on the road that Easter weekend. Just to make sure his caller got the point, father instructed his staff to wire the WPB man at his office or home the minute each truck started on its way to Washington, giving the time of departure and expected arrival. He made arrangements with police and Army officials to escort the trucks which were to be driven around the clock. Customer engineers were brought in and a miniature factory was set up in Georgetown to handle the reception and installation of the equipment.