Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Leadership Secrets of Hewlett Packard

@lucykellaway complains about the boneheaded aphorisms from Davos’s windy summit. Among other things, she critiques the advice given by Meg Whitman of HP — “You can always go faster than you think you can” — and points out that no, you can’t. Sometimes, when you go faster you fall flat on your face.

I hate to say this, but Lucy Kellaway is not entirely correct here. Or at least her counter-example doesn't prove her point. When you fall flat on your face, you ARE going faster than you thought you could. Just not quite in the direction you wanted.

But that's not to let Meg Whitman off the hook. Her quote has been widely disseminated as a leadership lesson. Framed thus, it appears to encourage people to ALWAYS go faster than they thought they could, and to imply that going faster than you thought you could is ALWAYS a good thing.

But what if it's not quite in the direction you wanted?

The plot thickens. The Financial Times receives an email from Henry "MagicGus" Gomez, head of marketing and communications at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, alleging biased reporting on Ms Kellaway's part, and warning FT management to consider the impact of unacceptable biases on its relationships with advertisers.

Fortunately, FT management is made of sterner stuff.

HT @stoiczak

Digital Transformation of Industries (World Economic Forum, 20-23 January 2016)

St├ęphanie Thomson, Leadership lessons from Davos 2016 (World Economic Forum, 23 January 2016)

Lucy Kellaway, Boneheaded aphorisms from Davos’s windy summit (FT 1 February 2016)

Lucy Kellaway, An old-school reply to an advertiser’s retro threat (FT 7 February 2016)

Paywall note: I believe the FT allows one link per day for non-subscribers.

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