Rolling over in the Grave

I can only imagine that both Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard are indeed rolling over in their graves with the most recent debacle of Mark Hurd falling from grace while at the helm of Hewlett-Packard.  There are many casting aspersions about him; and that I will not do. His conscience and the unavoidable fall-out personally and professionally will be a nightmare he will live with the rest of his life. Adding my own personal disappointment would mean nothing to him.

My point in this “Fine Line” has everything to do with exactly that: the fine line. In this case the fine line has to do with values – personally and professionally, individually and collectively. What is happening with our ability to stand tall in the face of temptation? Temptation comes in all forms – financial, sexual, social standing, promotion, power, and just plain old winning a competition. Oh – and by the way – that temptation is true for both Mark Hurd AND Jodie Fisher, his contractor (aka: actress) who ultimately was the nemesis that brought him down. He, arguably, had more to lose than Jodie with this tempting game, however.

Recently I have been working with several companies, on an international scale, who are struggling with how to grow and scale while instilling and maintaining a value system which will manifest the behaviors desired from their employees. I have repeatedly touted about how, at my old Alma mater Hewlett-Packard, we would fire people who lied on their expense reports, among other dishonest behaviors which would simply not be tolerated. Geez – who wasn’t listening?!

This is a wake-up call for anyone and any company who is seduced and intoxicated by temptation – in whatever form it may take. And oh, yes, for those cynically thinking and writing that Mark received a $12million dollar severance and over a $50million dollar total package to ride off into the sunset, which was grossly unfair, therefore it must not matter – I get it!

Yet, my question to them is, how do we think he wants to be remembered? What is the legacy he is leaving? What do his peers think about him now?  And, frankly, I wonder how that money can ever erase or even alter the obituary that will someday be written.

Squeaky clean may suddenly have a popular resurgence in our world. The legacy of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard has and will continue to stand the test of time as much for HOW they built and sustained their business, as HOW LARGE their empire was when they turned over the reins. As I mentioned in a blog earlier last week – that is the true measure of the man.

2 responses to “Rolling over in the Grave

  1. Integrity, morality, ethics – all at the core of the ‘old’ HP. Let’s hope that new management, which includes a board of directors not hand picked by the CEO, will bring some of these business basics back to the HP that I still love!

  2. A long time ago I was speaking with an older friend, and attorney, who shared with me wisdom that stuck with me. He disolved a business partnership with his friend because his friend/partner was having an affair. When presented with the disolution papers, the partner was shocked because the two of them were making a lot of money. The unfaithful partner wanted to know why my friend wanted to split up the partnership. My friend asked his partner, “How can you expect me to completely trust you in business when your wife can’t even trust you with your marriage”? A lie in word or deed will always be found out and the perpetrator must live with the concequences forever.

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