IBM fought its way back from an $8 billion loss in 1993 by adopting a few core lessons: shifting to truly global operations that share services and consolidate whenever possible; boldly overhauling its portfolio; and never resorting to survival mode, writes Bridget van Kralingen, IBM North America's general manager. "[Y]ou must accept that complacency is a business killer and banish it from your thinking," she writes. "You must understand that transformation is a constant and continuous process that can never end."

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