Hewlett and Packard: the difference

I blogged about Intel a couple of posts ago and today I will blog about another IT-industry stalwart, Hewlett Packard.bill_and_dave_21c

Quite simply, this is a brand that I have always liked. I have only ever bought HP printers and I like the story of the founders, William Hewlett and David Packard (take note, no shortening of names taking place here – the two gentlemen deserve full name spelling). They started HP in 1939 out of a garage in Palo Alto where the company was born.

What really stands out, however, is their reaction to the market soon after the war began. Not surprisingly, the government labs were shutting down and the engineers leaving their employment. But Hewlett and Packard saw the opportunity. Although they were going through staff layoffs themselves, they realised that the greatest opportunity their company ever had wasn’t that of technology.

So instead they went out and hired those engineers.

My mantra for 2014


The new year is one of the busiest times in the calendar for people looking for inspiration, exploring change and opening at least one eye to new jobs.

I spent most of 2013 talking about talent and the value of our people as our number one differentiator. I will kick off 2014 by helping integrate a division into our business and welcoming a few new people into my team, and with technological change increasing its influence on our work and home lives, it is important to maintain focus on our talent pool.

One of the last presentations I delivered in 2013 was at the cool offices of ITV, thanks to Andy Kyriacou who set up the event. I was inspired by the people who work at ITV but most importantly by how engaged they all were.

The CEO at ITV, Adam Crozier, the man that led much of the cultural change made in the last few years there, once said:

Silver bullets rarely exist – when great things happen, they happen because of good people, teamwork, fantastic amounts of hard work and a giant dose of luck.”

So this has become my chief principle for 2014: look after our people and create the theatre for them to deliver, for they are the best thing we’ve got.

New York, New York

I spent most of this week in the Big Apple at a Pearson event called Forum.

Forum brings together 120 people from across the company to brainstorm, network and focus on a specific theme to help drive continuous improvement throughout the company. This year’s theme was ‘Culture.’

It was a great experience, especially listening to Marjorie Scardino enthral us with her stories at dinner, meeting the Management Team and working with people I have never met before. We were assigned to ‘Home Group’ number 7. We called our group ‘I’ll Have Another.’ John, Allison, Ramesh, Natalie, Ken, Adrienne and myself. We hit it off immediately. I don’t know why and I am not sure how. But it clicked right away and it worked. On an evening assignment we created one of the best videos, as highlighted by our faciliators the next morning. Seven people in a group spanning a range of countries and continents – and yet it all came together very quickly. What does it mean? It tells me that when the chemistry is right, and when people get on, amazing things happen in the workplace. I thank the team for a great 3 days. We laughed so much.

I also learned that culture is not down to the CEO or management team to establish and cascade down to us. Culture is us. It is up to us as a team to find the connections, have the right attitude, communicate, share and motivate others, to feel and to be the culture. It was an inspirational week, especially going for runs along the Jersey shore facing Manhattan and waking up every day to this view. Thanks New York, thanks Pearson, thanks Team 7.