Thursday, February 13, 2014

HP Meg Whitman Goal driven Transformational Leadership

Having seen the leadership styles and failures from three CEO’s in the past 5 years [exhibit 2], employees within HP faced uncertainty and lacked clear vision, goal and lost trust in our leaders. HP, the innovator in technology was sinking and then came Meg Whitman; Forbes quotes “Meg Whitman Jolts HP as Its Reluctant Savior". In this article I am going to draw some of the best practices I learned from Meg and how her leadership style brought HP back on track.
Clear Strategic Vision: Unlike the past leaders who focused only on stake holders Meg understood that HP’s strength is in its 350,000 employees. She quickly articulated a clear long-term vision [exhibit 3] with a timeline for fixing and told us it’s a “multi-year journey” and we are at step 2 in the 4-point process .Meg, for all her accomplishments, is a real person. So we began with the end in mind and our vision was “Focus on outcomes the right way”.
Build Clarity and Empower by leading:. Meg is regarded as warm, honest and her credibility is not in doubt within employees. One anecdote perfectly describes why our faith would not be misplaced is this incident. After Dell had beaten HP on the last 5 deals from Microsoft, Whitman called Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, “Tell me where we came up short, Don’t sugarcoat it. I’d like to know so that we can do better the next time.” Soon afterward Microsoft sent a multipage memo to Whitman, listing nine ways that HP had fumbled its opportunity. For Whitman the memo wasn’t an insult; it was a battle plan. She convened a war team of HP’s enterprise computing division. Our job was to figure out how to make HP more competitive. When Microsoft’s Bing bought a further $530 million of servers in January, vindication arrived. This time HP, not Dell, seized the order. Blunt, folksy and persistent is what we saw in her. She’s decisive without being abrasive, persuasive without being slick. She’s a team builder who knows that turnarounds call for repairing hundreds of small failings rather than betting everything on a miracle cure that might be a mirage. Meg during our All Employee meeting said “Run to the fire; don’t hide from it.”, this made us believe that if we were afraid of ever making a mistake, we will be paralyzed from taking action or taking even calculated risks. We believed that mistakes happen in the course of doing business and that one learns from making mistakes, we will have a more productive team. With this new way of thinking HP beat street estimates with best fiscal results and stock price jumped 22% during Meg's turn around phase.
Bring the 4 I’s: Meg during her first 6 months as CEO she had 305 one-on-one meetings with individual team leaders (CII leader style) and travelled 20 countries to meet the country Managers and the employees to understand their issues and problems .She made herself more available and also opened an employee forum where she and her management team answer and give guidance to some of the questions posted by HP employees. She took the CEO position with a $1 base salary. We saw her as a truly transformational leader with Individualized consideration, Motivation through inspiration. She was regarded as a leader who respected individual employees and put follower’s needs above her own and showed an Idealized influence characteristic which is an important characteristic of a transformational leader. This in turn increased HP’s employee retention rate tremendously when compared to previous years.

Limitations: The leader's values may not be in alignment with the values of followers, and this may lead to a conflict of interest. This may destroy the trust that followers had built on the leader. The Leader should constantly show progress and improvement towards the long term goal otherwise employees may lose their confidence .The Leader of this type are generally Risk seekers , so there is a possibility of failure and leader should have a plan in case of failure.

1 comment:

  1. Bluehost is ultimately one of the best web-hosting provider for any hosting plans you require.