Power Point: Companies don’t stumble; people do

July 3, 2008, 10:26 PM UTC

“The companies acquired the usual encumbrances of success–among them arrogance and bureaucracy–and they devised new ways to fail as well. Or, precisely, their executives did. Companies don’t stumble; people do. As Peter Drucker has said: ‘Every failure is a failure of a manager.'”

— Carol Loomis, Fortune senior editor at large, wrote this in a legendary 1993 cover story, “Dinosaurs?,” about General Motors , Sears , and IBM . The article is worth reading—or rereading—as these three companies’ fates have now materialized so dramatically. GM, in dire distress, is the worst-performing stock in the Dow 30. Sears, led by Eddie Lampert, is vying for relevance and recovery. Meanwhile IBM is the only bonafide turnaround since this 1993 analysis. It’s also one of the rare big-cap gainers in the stock market this year.