Monday, March 5, 2012

a long time away from this blog

Holy mackerel... six months of no entries? Kind of a Rip Van Winkle time?

Actually, a fascinating time. Leo A got the boot, and in the enthusiasm and excitement I managed to get more air time than I needed, explaining my hoary views about Meg Whitman's possible candidacy (a day before she was selected.... sigh). Channel 7, KGO-TV, plus a few national squibs, somewhat indelible and affronting.

So, naturally when I gave a keynote talk to the annual HP Sales Force in Las Vegas in November, and she gave the talk after mine, we had a chance to meet, and I had a chance to apologize for intemperate remarks. Delicate moment, as they say....

To Meg's credit, she was gracious and disarming, offering that she'd heard lots worse from many others (doubtless on the political stump). I ate a little crow in front of her, and offered her a book, which she accepted and later sent me a thoughtful note.

The facts are, that I liked what she said, and more importantly, how she said it. And the word out of HP today is that she is building some trust again. That is different than shareholder value, which ostensibly is why we've changed so much (can you believe seven CEO's in five years, or is it just five in seven years?).

Leo A also corresponded mid-winter, and we met. Lots to discuss, but not lots to write, at least not now. The biggest take-away, besides the fiasco re the TouchPad and the PC 'decision' was his shock at the decrepit state of HP plant and facility when he arrived. He said Hurd had unscrewed the last working lightbulb to save costs.

Today, another signal... A longtime HP friend forwarded a paper, The Building of Employee Distrust: a Case Study of HP from 1995-2010, done by Kimberly Elsbach at UC Davis Biz School, a colleague from Imperial College in the UK, and Amy Stroud of HP. The story is that Meg saw the paper, and is circulating it. Right there is a shift of monumental proportions!

The paper will be given at the Organizational Dynamics conference in mid-summer. See