Leadership Summit - Carly Fiorina

Fiorina Carly Fiorina successfully led one of the world’s largest and most revered technology companies through a severe industry downturn. Her track record of taking risks and making courageous decisions during times of organizational change is unmatched. One of the world’s most admired business leaders, Carly Fiorina served as president and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005, reinventing the firm in order to compete in a rapidly changing business landscape. Under her tenure, HP improved its cost structure and profitability, doubled its revenues, and achieved the highest rate of innovation in its history. She details this experience in her 2006 memoir, Tough Choices.

Highlights from Hybels interview with Fiorina:

  • Leaders take personal responsibility for their own development as leaders.
  • I wasn't a gifted child, but my parents were a gift to me.
  • Learn about the things that interest you.
  • In logic classes I learned the power of the right question. Often more important than the right answers.
  • She was deeply impacted by the thrill of being on a winning team. Nothing worthwhile happens alone.
  • She was a frightened, insecure child and adult. Learned how to recognize fear in others (and everybody fears something.) Every time you push through fear it builds you up.
  • People are afraid of people who are different. Prejudice comes from fear. Accept the reality of prejudice but don't let it become your burden.
  • I won't let people's smaller ideas of who I am define me.
  • Leadership is about taking people in a new direction.
  • Tell people you expect them to develop as a leader.
  • Leadership requires passion and dispassion. Dispassion - objectivity to see what needs to be done or seen people for who they really are. An ability to see the truth and speak it.
  • HP said it was an innovative company but wasn't measuring innovation.
  • "The HP way" became an excuse not to try anything different.

This was a fascinating session. Very impressive woman who was very transparent and vulnerable. Straight talker ("I wasn't let go, Bill; I was fired.") Great stories. Her book, Tough Choices, is on Hybels' top ten leadership books list. I can't read it now, but I will as soon as I can.