David Packard: "More organizations die of indigestion than starvation"

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Bob Sutton:

My last post made me nostalgic for the old HP. Those of us who are faculty members in the Stanford School of Engineering have a special place in our hearts for the company that Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started. They were students here and started the company with $500 borrowed from Fred Terman, who was dean of the school for many years. They also donated very generously to the school; a building is named after Bill, another after Dave, and a third after Fred Terman -- all built with HP riches. I also have been influenced by the old HP's values, which helped shape my belief that a good company or boss ought to be judged on both performance and humanity -- indeed, that is is exactly how I define a good boss in my new book.

I have blogged about it before, but it is a good time to revisit David Packard's wisdom. His quote in the title is wonderful. The worst managers and companies often seem to be doing too many things, making things too complicated for insiders and outsiders, and suffering from scattered attention rather than a sharp focus on what matters most. If you think about Apple, a big part of their brilliance is how few things they do -- they have a remarkably small product line for such a big company, for example.

I especially love Dave's 11 Simple Rules, which he first presented at a company meeting in 1958 but are just as valid now as they were then. Here are the first five:

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Zellmer published on August 5, 2010 10:47 PM.

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