Last week, we announced our third quarter earnings results as well as leadership changes to drive our ongoing turnaround. At their core, these changes are critical to enabling HP to capitalize on the opportunities in front of us. I recently spoke about this very issue with CNBC’s Jim Cramer, but I wanted to elaborate on it for LinkedIn because the changes reflect a broader leadership philosophy that I think is relevant to any leader looking to transform their organization.
This philosophy is straightforward and centers around one of the principles I have followed throughout my career – having the right people in the right job at the right time.
Who the right person is can greatly depend on the moment. Someone who has performed an exemplary job leading one leg of that journey may not be ideally suited for the next.
As I’ve learned throughout my career, this approach applies for all organizations. The need for the right person in the right job is even more acute, for instance, in rapidly expanding enterprises and startups. I experienced this firsthand while at eBay. As a company grows quickly, a manager who is good at running a business at one scale and revenue level may suddenly find themselves overwhelmed when the business quickly surpasses a certain point. The tendency is to think that the manager is failing. In fact, the business has simply grown beyond the manager’s skills. They need help.
As the CEO of HP, it is my job to make sure we have the right people in the right job at the right time to ensure we continue to drive the turnaround. And to empower my team to make decisions to that same end.
I specifically encourage my team to ask themselves a few key questions as they assess whether they have the right people in the right positions. Does the person have the right skills to tackle the challenge at hand? The right experiential frame of reference? The right leadership traits for this moment in time? If not, can those issues be resolved? If the answer is no, a change must be strongly considered.
Going back to our Q3 results, while we have more work to do, we demonstrated the progress we have made in key areas of our turnaround plan. We have significantly improved our operations and more closely aligned HP’s cost structure with the revenue trajectory of the business. We are repairing our balance sheet and continue to build momentum around new innovative products such as our Moonshot server system.
With the right leadership, we can further strengthen our execution and build on the foundation we’ve laid over the first three quarters of fiscal 2013.
CEO at Hewlett-Packard