William Hewlett and David Packard Leadership
William (Bill) Hewlett (1919-2001) and David Packard
American founders (pictured right, Hewlett is left) of Hewlett-Packard, the first computer
company in Silicon Valley, California.
What do they tell us about leadership and business
1. Customer satisfaction
Any product must provide an economical and useful solution to customers’ problems.
“We're not selling hardware; we're selling solutions to customer problems”, Packard said.
So their top priority was customer
satisfaction, but to achieve it they realized that they needed great employees, innovation and quality
“To be useful an invention must not only fill a need, it must be an economical and efficient solution to
that need”, Packard said.
2. The “HP Way” – putting people first
Still practised in the company today, this describes Hewlett and Packard’s principles on people management:
“It has always been important to Bill and me to create an environment in which people have a chance to
be their best”, Packard said.
They believed in:
Their first product was an audio oscillator, which they sold to Walt Disney
Studios to test the sound for the movie, Fantasia (pictured right).
Hewlett was a great innovator because of his
The quality and reliability of their products were extremely important to
So they gave employees control over their work so they could find their own ways to improve
quality, particularly in teams.
Despite their kindness, they never flinched from making difficult but necessary decisions like firing
60% of their staff in the post-World War Two recession.
Pictured right is Packard’s garage where they started the business in 1939 with only
They were constantly:
7. Humility, kindness and honesty
Their integrity inspired people’s trust, respect and commitment.
They were down-to-earth leaders who were never arrogant and treated all employees the same,
seeing them as their partners in the business.
They became extremely wealthy but lived simply, giving millions to charities.
“Never stifle a generous impulse” was one of Hewlett’s favourite phrases.
8. Social responsibility
Packard said that a business must not only be profitable but also socially responsible.
“The betterment of society is...a responsibility to be shared by all”, he said.
They (pictured together in 1939 - courtesy of Hewlett-Packard) had complementary skills:
Packard quotes on marketing and innovation
We're not selling hardware; we're selling solutions to customer problems
Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.
To be useful an invention must not only fill a need, it must be an economical and efficient solution to that
Packard quotes on human resource management
It has always been important to Bill and me to create an environment in which people have a chance to be their
We have a responsibility to our employees to recognize their dignity as human beings.
Packard quote on change
To remain static is to lose ground.
Packard quote on decision making
Take risks. Ask big questions. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; if you don’t make mistakes, you’re not reaching
Packard quote on corporate social responsibility
The betterment of society is...a responsibility to be shared by all.
Hewlett quotes on
Creative people have an abiding curiosity and an insatiable desire to learn how and why things work.
Never stifle a generous impulse
Hewlett quote on
Men and women want to do a good job and, if they are provided the proper environment, they will do so.
Hewlett quote on decision
All business proceeds on beliefs, or judgements of probabilities, and not on certainties.
Hewlett quotes on
We were just opportunistic.
Hewlett quote on
Believe you can change the world.
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