Given all the salacious details that are now coming out almost daily about the HP Pretexting Scandal, it's easy to ignore one of its victims...HP's Corporate Culture.
There used to be a thing called THE HP WAY. When THE HP WAY was alive and well, the pretexting scandel would have been unheard of.
In 2002, Jocelyn Dong, writing for the Palo Alto Weekly reported on the "Rise and Fall of The HP Way". It's a wonderful read . It reminds us that corporate values matter. That when integrity and ethics are indelibly linked to a corporation good things can happen for employees and for shareholders.
When Packard and Hewlett passed away in 1996 and 2001, respectively, obituary writers noted their enduring legacy was not the multi-billion dollar tech giant -- it was the HP Way.
Dong started her piece by writing,
"For some workers, the HP Way bordered on religion. They considered it inviolable. A management philosophy emphasizing integrity, respect for individuals, teamwork, innovation, and contribution to customers and the community, it earned the abiding loyalty of thousands upon thousands of employees"
Over the next couple of days and weeks, as more stuff about the spying on board members and journalists is revealed, the media will focus on the dirty deeds and the people who did them.
While what was done was heinous and despicable, it is also heartbreaking. How did a company that had such wonderful values, lose its way?
Now that's its lost, can it find its way home again. The blog Freds House, doesn't think the company can return. But he does believe it can recreate.
You know, sometimes it takes a crisis to precipitate a catharsis -- and maybe our current board crisis can be turned into a vehicle for purposeful renewal of the HP culture and our presence in the world. It would be hard and painful thing to do, and it would take incredible leadership from Mark Hurd and his team and from every person in HP, but I could see it, I really could.
Am I crazy? Inspired? Deluded? Maybe, but I think it's a great question: What would a truly great HP look like, that would be deserving of the term HP Way 2.0?