Read My Lips

Hewlett Packard — The Carly Fiorina Way

How does Hewlett Packard's CEO Carly Fiorina define the challenges of leading a technology company?

Taking a philosophical approach to running a hi-tech business.

Takeaways


Hewlett Packard's CEO Carly Fiorina is a rare species among corporate leaders. Not only is she a woman, but prior to studying business, she received a degree in medieval history and philosophy. If anything, it has helped her to succeed in guiding Hewlett Packard, the technology icon. Our Read My Lips feature examines her views.

How should the United States tackle outsourcing?

“There is no job that is America’s God-given right anymore. We have to compete for jobs as a nation.”
(February 2004)

How can the United States succeed?

“America is the most innovative country on earth. It won't stay that way if we run away from the reality of the global economy.”
(February 2004)

Does the U.S. government need to protect American workers?

“We cannot protect the American people from reality.”
(January 2004)

Yet, what is the responsibility of U.S. companies?

“There is no question that companies that source jobs overseas have an obligation to help workers left behind get the tools they need to find jobs and succeed.”
(February 2004)

What is your definition of leadership?

“I believe that first, leadership is a choice — and second, that leadership is about making a positive impact.”
(October 2003)

What is a CEO's primary task?

“The CEO’s job is to manage the company — not manage the stock prices. The CEO’s job is to balance the short term and the long term, irrespective of the pressures of Wall Street. It may not be easy — but it is what we’re paid for.”
(October 2003)

How dependent are leaders on their teams?

“Nothing important, nothing valuable, nothing significant, nothing happens when a single person acts alone.”
(October 2003)

Are you prepared to take risks?

“This is a climate that doesn’t reward risk-taking. Yet, the fundamentals of business are to take prudent risks at the right time.
(October 2002)

Can technology help the world's disadvantaged?

“Many people see technology as the problem behind the so-called digital divide. Others see it as the solution. Technology is neither. Technology must operate in conjunction with business, economic, political and social systems.”
(April 2001)

Why do we need to ensure that technology reaches everyone fast?

“Today, there are two billion children in the world under the age of 15. That’s two billion children getting ready for the future. Time is not on our side. Given where technology is going, a generation of children who don’t get plugged in is a generation lost.”
(April 2000)

And finally, were you destined to become a company's CEO?

“I went off to law school because that’s what my father wanted me to do. I hated it. I quit after a semester and wandered off into the world to find myself — and did some strange things.”
(October 2003)

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