Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Carly Still Not Getting Respect

HP's ex-chief executive comes to her own defense - Los Angeles Times: "HP's embarrassing sideshow lately probably proves her right. But it's also clear from Fiorina's book, and in talking to her, that she didn't read her directors very well and had blinders on too long. She also seemed to put way too much faith in management systems and processes to fix the board dysfunction, as if kumbaya was just one PowerPoint presentation away.
She believed HP's board could repair itself, needed operational CEOs in lieu of technology people and praised '360-degree feedback,' a management technique that would have had directors hold a mirror to themselves.
But would it have helped? In describing her childhood, middle child Fiorina says that she was the diplomat of her family, intervening in arguments, listening to both sides, and trying to strike compromises. Likewise, she still believes she could have done the same thing with her board, if only they had the resolve for self-examination. And it might have saved her job.
'People thought that's not a good use of time — it's beneath us,' she said. 'We should be talking about technology, not board dynamics. It's what should have happened and it still hasn't happened, apparently.'"

I think Mr. Bates is seriously misguided. She is not a campfire sort. She is sharp, driven and not seemingly so worried about everyone getting along as she is about things being done correctly. I think she read the directors quite well. She was never charmed by them, but did what she felt was right for the company. They never really supported her, but that doesn't mean she read them wrong. The suggestion here is that she is still to blame for their poor behavior. I think it is wise to lie blame at the doorstep of the directors themselves and not at the very accomplished leader that they never appreciated.

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