SEPTEMBER 26, 2001
"TECHNOLOGY, BUSINESS AND OUR WAY OF LIFE: WHAT'S NEXT"
© Copyright 2001 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P
All rights reserved. Do not use without written permission from HP.
Thank you. Good evening, everyone.
Im honored to be here with you. So much has changed
since I accepted your invitation to speak.
Since then, weve become citizens of a nation in mourning.
A nation whose basic freedoms, including our freedom of movement,
are being weighed against other values like safety and security.
In so many ways, we are a nation more united than we were
just a fortnight agobut were also a nation in
search of new meaning and context.
On the morning of September 11, I awoke to the news that
the World Trade Center had been struck. Like many of you,
I stood transfixed, staring at the images on television, horrified
by the events unfolding before our eyes. And like many Americans,
I felt a deep and extraordinary connection to the people in
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and on those airplanes,
to the companies decimated, to the families forever altered,
to the parents, and fathers, and mothers, and children who
are still hoping beyond hope that their family members will
And as a business leader, I experienced a whole other set
of emotions - first and foremost concern for the safety of
our employees and their families. Concern for the security
of our employees who are of Middle Eastern descent or who
practice the Muslim religion here in the US and abroad. Concern
for employees who are traveling, and how to get them home
to their families as fast as possible. And then a concern
for the safety of customers and partners located in the World
Trade Center complex, in the Pentagon, and in the airline
industry. Concern about the potential threat of cyber attacks
against IT infrastructure. Concern for the security across
our international operations.
These are not everyday concerns for a CEO and for that reason
they are sobering. They are grounding. Times like these force
you to think deeply about the role of leadership.
If the events of September 11 had never happened, I would
have covered many topics with you tonight.
I would have made the case that the next economic upturn
will be enabled by a whole new generation of information technology.
I would have talked about how that new wave of technology
will empower customers - transforming how we do business,
transforming how we create value, and transforming entire
And I would have spent time talking about the responsibility
of leadersin guiding a world in which technology and
its benefits are accessible by all.
I would have talked about the fact that if we do not take
responsibility for closing the gap between the haves and have-nots,
between the technology-enabled and the technology-deprived
- that we cannot, in fact, call ourselves leaders.
Increasingly, our success as leaders is defined by our ability
to see how our organizations fit into a much larger ecosystem
of causes and effectshow the push and tug of an action
on one side of the globe can positively (or negatively) affect
families, companies, nations, and entire peoples on the other
All of these topics are still worthy of a full evening of
discussion and while I still hold all of these things to be
true, I think for tonight, we should focus on the role of
leadership, particularly in business. In some ways, September
11 marks the start of a new era of leadershipone in
which corporations will have to take an even greater responsibility
on a world stage.
Business leaders in this country have a daunting task ahead.
It goes far beyond the physical rebuilding of New York and
Washington, D.C. It goes beyond resurrecting the towers that
symbolize economic strength and prosperity. It goes beyond
refocusing our companies and our teams on forging ahead with
business, and it goes beyond returning America to some kind
of normalcy, in the face of actions designed to corrupt and
destroy our way of life.
But its quite simple: As leaders, now more than ever
before, we have a responsibility to redefine the role of the
corporation on a world stage - and to leverage our ability
to impact individuals, companies, communities, nationsfor
We must remake our businesses to be far more active corporate
citizenscreators not only of shareowner value, but also
of social value, in ways that are systemic, and sustainable.
It becomes our job to use a profit engine to raise the capabilities,
extend the hopes, and extinguish despair across the globe.
We have a chance and an imperative to improve the choices,
and economic condition, and sphere of opportunity for billions
more people here at homeand around the globe. Its
a greater mandateone that our customers increasingly
demand of us, one that is deserved by every country in which
we do business and one, Id argue must be undertaken
because it can be undertaken.
This is a mandate that started as a quiet whisper more than
a decade ago and more recently could be heard more loudly
in Seattle and Prague and Genoa, in the voices of protestors
who declare that global companies have not lived up to their
What is important here is not to take sides in the globalization
debate, but to look at the problem, and work toward a real
As the world moves toward a knowledge economy the mandate
for leadership changes.
Unlike a world dominated solely by manufacturing prowess
or distribution reach, one in which success is often about
wringing cost out of the system or maximizing a supply chain
- weve entered a different world.
In a knowledge economy, an economy driven by intellectual
and human capital in addition to financial and physical capital,
the transfer of knowledge, and information, and know-how
the exchange of services will become an increasingly
important driver. In such an economy, partnership and trust
and reliability and respect become important. Which is why,
in an economy where intellectual capital is currency, corporate
behavior becomes a scorecard by which you are judged
by your customers, your employees, your shareowners.
That scorecard will of course include your ability to be
a cost-competitive player, but equally important on the score-card
- Your integrity and your character;
- Your ability to transfer value and know-how into local
economies in which you do business;
- Your track-record as a socially responsible corporate
- Your ability to sustain and nurture true partnerships
and ecosystems, in which all parties gain both social good
and economic gain.
The winning companies of this century will be those who prove
with their actions that they can be profitable and increase
social values - companies that both do well and do good. So
much so in fact, that business leaders will no longer view
doing well and doing good as separate pursuits, but as one
And, increasingly, shareowners and customers and partners
and employees are going to vote with their feetrewarding
those companies that achieve social change through business.
The companies that will be worthy of their investment, money,
time and energy will be those with similar values and those
that can meet a much higher standard of performance.
I should note this has nothing to do with politics or subscribing
to a particular ideology or economic theory. This is simply
the new reality of businessone that we should and must
The question, of course, is, how?
And so let me spend a moment to move this discussion from
the theoretical to the practical. Whether your business, like
HPs, spans the entire globe, or just the eight blocks
around this building, the same principles apply.
There are four key leadership imperatives that are at work,
and must be mastered, for all of us as leaders to operate
and succeed going forward.
Imperative number one is the principle of leadership and
the mandate to build a winning culture.
This first leadership imperative starts within the walls
of your company - in the vision you set, and in the culture
Even as recently as two weeks ago, in the business world
we talked about culture as a lever for change and a means
of motivating employeesand, certainly, thats still
true. But particularly since September 11, culture has also
come to mean something else: According to a recent Wall Street
Journal article on the redefinition of the workplace in light
of recent events, "The tragedy brought the need for safety,
security, belonging, and affiliation into sharp relief."
Clearly, its leaderships responsibility to give
employees space and support to rethink their priorities in
the wake of recent events. But the article goes on to say
that if "managed correctly, recent events present an
opportunity to strengthen employees sense of affiliation through
a common vision, a common mission, a common sense of purpose."
In this context, as leaders, we must answer the question
for our employees: in a world where know-how and insight and
intelligence and inventive spirit are the keys to success,
what role will our company play in fostering itand what
role will we play in harnessing it?
Once we answer this, we then have to foster a culture that
can deliver on that vision.
Its important to remember that top leaders can set
a vision, set a strategy, set a system of rewards and metrics
that encourage people, reward people, train people - but the
rest is ultimately up to the individuals and teams in our
companies. It is very much acts of individuals, the every
day acts of many, that make the biggest difference in the
overall performance of a company.
I think thats something that Bill Hewlett and Dave
Packard understood when they started HP sixty-two years ago.
Bill and Dave didnt create HP in 1939 to build an empire
or a fortune. These two young Stanford guys with $538 between
them simply wanted to invent what they called the useful and
the significant - useful in peoples lives, and contributing
to the world in a significant way.
And they wanted to create a meritocracy where personal,
every day acts of leadership counted.
Which is why they were devoutly egalitarian and progressive
in the way they designed employee programs such as employee
stock ownershipall employees would become leaders, in
a sense. They rewarded people based on performance and contribution,
rather than on rank or title or size of organization or time
Today, you can see the foundations of that culture magnified
in initiatives like HPs World E-Inclusion effort, designed
to spread the benefits of the digital world into areas that
have been excluded until nowto nations across the globe,
to towns and villages and businesses everywhere, into the
lives of billions who have up to now not had the tools to
share their invention with the rest of the world, and who
have every right to participate in a knowledge economy. Its
not about recycling PCs or imposing Western technology on
developing nations. Its inherently about creating, from
the ground up, locally sustainable solutions that are culturally
relevant. Its about rethinking how technology can empower
and sustain and liberate, rather than exclude and erode and
Its ultimately about technology as means, not end itself.
So thats imperative number one.
Imperative number two is about leadership and the need for
In these challenging economic times, we are all trying to
ignite the growth engines inside our companies and to help
re-ignite the economy as a whole. Most of us have taken the
necessary steps to boost efficiency, eliminate redundancy
and reduce costs. But its not possible to cost-cut our
way to growth. Growth is dependent on new revenues. And so
the next leadership imperative is focused on creating sustainability
through the simultaneous pursuit of growth opportunities in
existing businesses--as well as in wholly new markets. Pursuing
growth in existing businesses means avoiding complacency and
postponing short-term gains for medium term rewards.
But let me underscore the importance of emerging marketsand
the distinctively different approach that must be taken in
discovering them, nurturing them, and growing them.
Obviously, most of these markets are located in the developing
world. The potential for growth in the emerging market economies
has never been greater. As an example, recent OECD statistics
show that spending on information technologies in these economies
is growing at twice the rate of the industrialized world,
although off a lower base. It illustrates the importance of
thinking about developing markets as a central part of a companys
And in these developing markets, sustainable systems are
the only way you can derive long-term growth.
"Sustainable" in that the solutions are economically
viable, and can remain so for years without outside interference.
"Sustainable" in that the solutions do not degrade
the local environment. "Sustainable" in that the
solutions respect social and cultural moresin fact,
they optimize, celebrate, and reward them.
In these markets, its especially true that its
not just what you dobut also the character with which
you do it.
We will lose customers, shareowners, and ultimately employees
if we do not demonstrate leadership and develop new metrics
for gauging our performance on a world stage:
- Are we making useful and significant contributions that
are economically and culturally sustainable?
- Are we doing everything we can to unlock the doors to
the information economy in a way that, again, is not Western-imposed,
US-centric, or homogenous?
The fact is we are in a single global ecosystem, wired, connected,
overlapping--benefiting from each others successes,
and suffering from each others losses. September 11th
made this all the more vivid more than 60 countries
lost citizens on that day.
The collective moment of silence honored around the world
- here in America, in Mexico, in Canada, in England, in Japan,
across the continent of Africa. in the deepest parts of small
towns, on the streets of our biggest cities. This gesture
made visible to me, at least, how deeply connected we are.
Complexity theory tells us that imbalance and asymmetry resolves
itself in time, either through negative resolutions like war,
or disease, or economic breakdown, or through positive resolutions
like the removal of barriers, the opening up of systems, or
the movement of wealth and knowledge and personal opportunity
and fulfillment to a more balanced geographic distribution.
Leadershipboth at the highest level and at the personal
level is what causes the pendulum to swing in one direction
or the other. The system needs to find balance. Humankind
is the catalyst that forces the balance to swing one way or
Which leads us to imperative number three. This imperative
is about leadership and diversity.
If we are truly going to continue to lead our companies through
periods of growth, and broaden our role as stewards of a new
global economy that nurtures (rather than destroys) every
culture in its path, we need to take an approach that embraces
ideas and approaches we have no model for. To be successful,
we must harness diversity of thought. Yes, diversity of people,
diversity of background, diversity of experience, diversity
of skills. But most important, diversity of ideas. Diversity
If we are doing our job as corporate leaders, we must think
more than a quarter out beyond the current stock price.
Where will new ideas come from? Where will new business models
come from? Where will talent come from? Where will our customers
Were living in an era that's defined by the power of
ideas, the power of connections to knowledge, to information.
Smart people reside everywhere in the world - all kinds of
people and smart people brimming with ideas that have yet
to be heard.
This is about a new definition of diversity that has to do
with more than national origin or race or creed - it has to
do with keeping the market in motion by feeding it new models,
new ideas, new approaches.
We see the power of diversity in the wake of the events of
September 11th - the diversity of those who waited
hours to give blood, the diversity of those who helped, the
diversity reflected in the cultures and religions that took
part in the memorial service at Yankee Stadium. Diversity
in those who have donated their time to courageously look
for survivors. The diversity of outpouring from virtually
every nation on this planet. I bring all of this up not to
be dramatic, but to say if this is the strength we can draw
in time of collective crisis what is the power we could
harness in an effort of collective aspiration and hope?
Which brings me to the fourth and final imperative: leadership
In recent years, the market has placed more emphasis on short-term
results or the promise of short-term results more than the
creation of enduring value.
A leaders job cant focus solely on short-term
results. A leader must focus on the long-term health of the
franchise and the creation of business value for shareowners,
customers and employees over years to come.
This means, as leaders, we must be bold in our actions -
ahead of the market, using the courage of our convictions
and our judgment, experience and instincts as our guide.
Since we announced our merger with Compaq three weeks ago,
much has been written about the combination, much of it focused
on PC market consolidation or creating scale to cut costs.
But those stories, frankly, miss the much bigger point.
Steps like the one Michael Capellas and I took two weeks
ago are based on a shared commitment to leading and driving
the industry through its next inflection point - the accelerating
shift toward market-unifying architectures and approaches.
A shift that serves customers better, a shift that will unleash
the inventive energies of this industry on a new generation
of products, applications and solutions, in the enterprise,
in the small and medium business, in the home.
And while perhaps some critics do not yet see the full benefit
of the merger, the role of leadership is sometimes to take
bold actions that defy conventional wisdom.
I dont mean to paint top leaders as solely chartered
to make such moves. But I do believe that courage is required
I think in the last two weeks, we have witnessed acts of
courage on a grand scale and at a very human scale. As 46
year-old New Yorker Jim Pesomen said, "The toughest part
was watching firemen and the courageous go back into that
building as it was coming down. Those individuals, I tell
you, have courageknowing what they know."
And it was acts of courage we saw over and over again in
the named heroes, like Mark Bingham and Tom Burnett on flight
93, but also those who were heroes like a woman who guided
Eduardo Rivera down 70 flights of stairs. Omars blind,
and will never see the woman who saved his life, but will
be forever thankful.
As business leaders, as we are faced with questions of life
and death rather than how much our stock is worth, the significance
of our business contribution to the world may be increased.
And that is a good thing.
Ill end by telling a story.
There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the
It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched
from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and
deserts. Within its dominion lived hundreds of millions of
people, of different creeds and ethnic origins.
One of its languages became the universal language of much
of the world, the bridge between the peoples of a hundred
lands. Its armies were made up of people of many nationalities,
and its military protection allowed a degree of peace and
prosperity that had never been known. The reach of this civilizations
commerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere
And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention.
Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its
mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would
enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption.
Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for
disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the
stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.
Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage,
romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before
them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.
When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization
thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened
to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization
kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.
While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits,
the civilization Im talking about was the Islamic world
from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire
and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened
rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent.
Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this
other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our
heritage. The technology industry would not exist without
the contributions of Arab mathematicians. Sufi poet-philosophers
like Rumi challenged our notions of self and truth. Leaders
like Suleiman contributed to our notions of tolerance and
And perhaps we can learn a lesson from his example: It was
leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership
that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse populationthat
included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions.
This kind of enlightened leadership leadership that
nurtured culture, sustainability, diversity and courage
led to 800 years of invention and prosperity.
In dark and serious times like this, we must affirm our commitment
to building societies and institutions that aspire to this
kind of greatness. More than ever, we must focus on the importance
of leadership bold acts of leadership and decidedly
personal acts of leadership.
With that, Id like to open up the conversation and
see what we, collectively, believe about the role of leadership.
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