I recently finished reading The HP Way – How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company – by David Packard.
As the title indicate this book is about the story of Hewlett Packard as told by one of the founding partners David Packard. This book offers a corporate history of how the company started from the infamous garage into a global enterprise, but more importantly focuses on the guiding principles on which this company was built – the HP Way.
What stands out in the HP Way is the deep commitment and belief in values and principles. These radiate from the founders and affect everyone and everything at HP. The HP Way covers all aspects of operations within the company and with external stakeholders (customers, shareholders etc.) in a way that transcends time and specific technologies (see below excerpts). Almost half a century later most of what is discussed is just as relevant than as it is now.
HP is currently in a desperate need to revive the HP Way and transform itself in order to turn itself around and succeed in the future. A highly recommended read.
Below are excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:
1- “…it has been a guiding principle in developing and managing HP. Get the best people, stress the importance of teamwork, and get them fired up to win the game.”
2- “We published a second version of the objectives in 1966 and they are as follows…1) Profit: To recognize that profit is the best measure of our contribution to society and the ultimate source of our corporate strength…2) Customers: To strive for continual improvement in the quality, usefulness, and value of the products and services we offer our customers…3) Field of Interest: To concentrate our efforts, continually seeking new opportunities for growth but limiting our involvement o fields in which we have capability and can make a contribution. 4) Growth: To emphasize growth as a measure of strength and a requirement for survival. 5) Employees : To provide employment opportunities for HP people that include the opportunity to share in the company’s success, which they help make possible. To provide them job security based on performance, and to provide the opportunity for personal satisfaction that comes from a sense of accomplishment in their work. 6) Organization: To maintain an organizational environment that fosters individual motivation, initiative, creativity, and a wide latitude of freedom in working toward established objectives and goals. 7) Citizenship: To meet the obligations of good citizenship by making contributions to the community and to the institutions in our society which generate the environment in which we operate.”
3- “An important element of the HP Way has to do with the company’s relationship with its shareholders and the investment community. A primary objective in this area is to provide consistency in our corporate performance, including steady growth in earnings and equity.”
4- “At that time our policy at HP was to regard increased market share as a reward for doing things well – for providing customers with superior products and services and keeping our costs down. This has been a basic policy from the very beginning of our company, and we expect it to continue in the future.”
5- “The key to HP’s prospective involvement in any field of interest is contribution. Our objective is to expand and diversify only when we can build on our present strengths, and with the recognition that we have the proven capability to make a contribution. To meet this objective, it is important that we put maximum effort into our product-development programs. This means we must continually seek new ideas for new and better kinds of products.”
6- “The fundamental basis for success in the operation of Hewlett-Packard is the job we do in satisfying the needs of our customers. We encourage every person in our organization to think continually about how his or her activities relate to the central purpose of serving our customers.”
7- “…gains in quality come from meticulous attention to detail and every step in the manufacturing process must be done as carefully as possible, not as quickly as possible. This sounds simple, but it is achieved only if everyone in the organization is dedicated to quality.”
8- “It’s imperative that there be a strong spirit of helpfulness and cooperation among all elements of the company and that this spirit be recognized and respected as a cornerstone of the HP Way.”
9- “Although we minimize corporate direction at HP, we consider ourselves one single company, with the flexibility of a small company and the strengths of a large one – the ability to draw on corporate resources and services; shared standards, values, and culture; common goals and objectives; and a single world identity.”
10- “I should point out that the successful practice of management by objective is a two-way street. Managers at all levels must be sure that their people clearly understand the overall objectives and goals of the company, as well as the specific goals of their particular division or department. Thus, managers have a strong obligation to foster good communication and mutual understanding. Conversely, their people must take sufficient interest in their work to want to plan it, to propose new solutions to old problems, and to jump in when they have something to contribute.”