Thursday, August 12, 2010

Packard Principles

On March 15, 2002, just as the contentious merger of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer was heading toward a showdown vote, David W. Packard took out a full-page ad in that day's Wall Street Journal to reprint the transcript of what he described as "an informal speech my father made in 1960 to a group of HP managers."

HP co-founder Dave Packard (pictured at left with Bill Hewlett) "spoke about HP people and values and the importance of genuine technical contributions to customers. Full of sincere and timeless truths, his words provide a window into the reasons for HP's enduring greatness," wrote his son (who was opposing the merger) in an intro to the printed speech.

The following is a passage from that 1960 speech by Dave Packard to HP's managers:

"I want to touch on other aspects of your work which are important. As supervisors you will be expected to set high standards of behavior. This is obvious and shouldn't even need to be mentioned. But the example you set is important and I am going to mention specific things which should be kept in mind. Tolerance is tremendously significant. Unless you are tolerant of the people under you, you really can't do a good job of being a supervisor. You must have understanding — understanding of the little things that affect people. You must have a sense of fairness, and you must know what is reasonable to expect of your people. You must have a good set of standards for your group but you must maintain these standards with fairness and understanding."