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A Summary of

50 Lessons From HP’s Company Culture

Brian Armstrong
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HP is a great case study in how to build a string of successful products and create repeatable innovation across business units.

50 lessons

  • Combine corporate greatness with empathy for employees.
  • Make a contribution.
  • Abandon an idea if a better one comes along.
  • Be yourself.
  • Look back strategically, not with nostalgia.
  • Price to customer desire.
  • Take care of your smallest clients.
  • Have multiple product lines.
  • Settle upon standards.
  • Managers should support staff.
  • Have an open door policy.
  • Trust your people.
  • Don’t punish employees for initiative.
  • Don’t punish employees for trying something beyond their abilities.
  • Invest in new product development.
  • Do the right thing at the worst times.
  • Create a great corporate culture.
  • Maintain your personal networks.
  • Do company picnics.
  • Set time for people to relax.
  • Don't pursue ideas outside of your core competencies.
  • Don't introduce products that don't yet exist.
  • Never take on an entrenched market or competitor unless you can make a decisive contribution.
  • Profit is the best measure of a company’s contributions to society.
  • Be revolutionary. Be wary of being utopian.
  • A company is not just a business, but a philosophy.
  • Always fund growth on profits.
  • Ensure strong interconnections between your products.
  • Don't let senior management hesitation get in the way.
  • If an idea isn't going to succeed, kill it.
  • Be prepared to turn a blind eye to side projects.
  • Great companies look for opportunities.
  • Eccentric, but talented, people may require atypical employee arrangements.
  • Don't demand that customers change their behavior overnight.
  • As long as it is for a good cause, and legal, allow a certain amount of employees subterfuge.
  • Always prepare for the next battle.
  • Honor entrepreneurs.
  • Let employees set their own schedules.
  • Give your employees back some of their time.
  • The highest level of corporate leadership is symbolic management.
  • Get lunch with employees.
  • Survey employees.
  • Enthusiastically cultivate new ideas + creativity .
  • Admit when the company makes a mistake.
  • A company is not what it makes, but what it is.
  • Innovation can't be allowed to take on a life of its own.
  • A true open door policy extends to the directors and the chairman.
  • Treat senior executives who wish to move or retire with dignity.
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