Re: The good people
Not IBM, but one place I worked at had sucessive rounds of cutbacks, initially (and sucessfully) aimed at getting rid of multiple (redundant) layers of management whose primary function was to obstruct things being done, but then taken up on a "monkey see, monkey do" basis by people(+) who didn't understand that getting rid of your talented technical staff was a bad thing even if getting rid of people who were only pushing paper that was better shuffled by computer was a good thing, and so decided to make cutbacks at all levels.(*)
After it was clear to me that the deadwood(**) weren't going anywhere and most of the talented people had bailed out en masse at the last moment in the previous round I decided I didn't want to be stuck with a bunch of box-tickers and put my hand up. The company was getting wise to this and tried to block people it didn't want going but had a fight on its hands because the deadwood were also the bush lawyers and had no intention of going anywhere and the union took the voluntary part of "voluntary redundancies" seriously(***).
(*) The effects of the first couple of rounds of redundancies were to achieve massive speedups in getting things done. It wasn't unusual for customers to find that many orders were processed the same day instead of taking 3-4 months. After cutbacks in tech staff started happening, this started slipping back to several weeks or longer simply because of a lack of staff to do the job(****)
(**) ie: people who kept me employed going around fixing what they'd broken in addition to what they'd failed to fix in the first place.
(***) Yes, it did result in them having to hire some people back as consultants for 3-5 times what they'd previously been paid.
(****)vs the previous situation where delays were caused by the order being filled out in triplicate, sent to one end of the country for processing, sent to the other for filing, lost, found, lost again, left in a peat bog for three months and finally fed to a Ravenous Bugblatter beast of Traal before arriving on the desk of someone technical - who did the work the day they received the job and usually in less than 20 minutes.
(+) I use that term loosely, but calling them barely trained primates with MBAs and low comprehension or deductive skills would be unkind to lemurs. Seriously, I'm sure that many management consultants are there because they have big tits and/or are good at giving blowjobs and not for their ability to actually plan for the long-term benefit of the organisation they work for. I'm sure a flock of flying monkeys would fling less poo too.