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Carly Fiorina brought an excellent skill set to Hewlett-Packard's corner office. She communicated with exceptional persuasiveness, arrived with a determination to transform HP's culture, and acted decisively to do so. Carly has gone from the most powerful women in business for three consecutive years to being noticeably absent from the top 50 list. Fiorina's leadership style was excellent. She came in 1999 from Lucent Technologies. Fiorina had great talent and she was a very powerful communicator. When it came to clear, persuasive communication, Fiorina was at the top of the heap. Second, she was and is very decisive. Few reasons like strong Educational background were a reason for her immediate rise to the top. Enthusiasm, dedication and charisma are some of the more important characteristics of leadership.
Fiorina's educational background is as impressive as her business savvy. She holds a bachelor's degree in medieval history and philosophy from Stanford University; a master's degree in business administration from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland at College Park, Md.; and a master of science degree from MIT's Sloan School. In addition to Fiorina's extensive levels of higher education, in July of 2001, she was named an Honorary Fellow of the London Business School. She also serves on the board of Cisco Systems and was previously a board member of the Kellogg Company and Merck & Company.
"Power is the capacity of person, team or organization to influence others". Despite of her good educational background, she had an influential power which gave her a strong rise in her previous company. According to Fiorina's speech
"My mother...taught me about the power of inspiration and courage, and she did it with a strength and a passion that I wish could be bottled."
She has an unbelievable zest for life and in another era would have been a wonderful businesswoman. Carly knew her core strengths were an ability to work hard, identify and meet customer needs, and manage challenging business operations. From her memoirs we learn of the challenges she faced early on in working with discriminatory colleagues and supervisors. From
these experiences she developed a toughness that allowed her to compete and to win, even when circumstances were less than fair. Apart from personal influence, she has good political and media influence which helped in stepping into her success. According to the style she practised in HP, I would like to quote it as "AUTOCRATIC LEADERSHIP"-A Leader who tends to centralize authority and derive power from position, control of rewards, and coercion.(DEFINITION FROM THE BOOK: "THE LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE"-AUTHOR-RICHARD.L.DRAFT,Pg:57). Fiorina believed that the HP way was a major cause of the company's mediocre performance. She told a reporter, "that's the way it has to be"....... and that indicates her positive traits in Leadership. As a leader, she has a personal touch that inspires intense loyalty which gave her meteoric rise in her career.
RICHARD S FULD:
Mr.Fuld has been the imperious chief executive of lehman's , the forth largest investment bank in the united states, since 1994. Richard Fuld joined Lehman in 1969 as a commercial-paper trader and earned his reputation running the firm's fixed-income business. In the early 1980s at the age of 37 Fuld became the supervisor of both the fixed-income and the equities divisions, overseeing all trading at Lehman. Fuld, who earned his MBA from New York University at night, was considered by many in the industry as one of Wall Street's supreme traders. One Lehman partner said of Fuld in Investment Dealers' Digest , "This is a very smart guy, tough as nails" (August 24, 1992).He has 39 years of experience in banking industry.Fuld was given managerial responsibilities in which he had 22 managers reporting to him in divisions that accounted for two thirds of company's profit. He excelled well and generated profit records. He is a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum and the Business Council. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Middlebury College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. There were also several other attributes that endorsed the leadership style he pursued. According to Richard L.Draft "a leader who shows concern for both tasks and people is called as HIGH-HIGH LEADER". No doubt Richard is an example for this.
Between 1994 and 2007, Lehman Brothers' market capitalization grew from $2bn to $45bn. Its share price went from $5 to $86, creating an a verage annual return for shareholders of 24.6 per cent. It grew to more than 28,000 employees, with more than 60 offices in over 28 countries. The one man behind this incredible growth was Dick Fuld. By 2006, Lehman Brothers was the number one underwriter of securities backed by sub-prime mortgages. It's important to note about the different kind of powers used in leadership style, they are referent power, coercive, expert and Reward power. In this case, Richard has used EXPERT POWER-"Originates from within the person, and is the individual's or work unit's capacity to influence others by possessing knowledge or skills that they want." The reason why Richard falls under this category is, he was an influential paradox in his team and generated knowledge and skills to his team members. He was also acknowledged as someone who offered generous rewards to staff who met his demanding targets. This shows his motivation towards employees. I would like to bring to notice that Richard was in banking industry for more than 3 decades and this shows that he is a subject matter expertise. A good leader carries forward the skills of his own domain in his organization. This reminds me to talk about his accounting skills, were an employee in his team has quoted "MAN OF NUMBERS "which portraits his likes for the banking industry. One should be effective in his own field to enjoy the benefits of each and every individual. I will also support to the statement that Richard is a COMMUNICATION CHAMPION-" a person who is philosophically grounded in belief that communication is essential to building trust and gaining commitment to vision".(Pg.344- Richard/L Draft)
What factors drove them to their spectacular fall?
Leaders are at the top of the chain and are assumed to have all the answers, so they make most of the decisions. In reality knowledge and expertise is spread across people in organizations. But it's the leaders who must be seen to lead and so followers get frustrated because their superior knowledge and expertise is frequently ignored. It is justified true in Carly's case when she fired at least 18,000 employees. When HP instituted the biggest layoff in its history shortly thereafter, many workers felt betrayed including the managers. A survey revealed that around 8000 employees were unhappy about poor communication and decision. Employee dissatisfaction took place when Carly planned to start the merger of Compaq and HP. Here, I would like to tell that she was a Conventional thinker and not an Integral thinker. By being Conventional thinker, she failed to analyse the other way of not firing the employees but giving them a chance to prolong with a better success.
For all her attempts to rewrite history there are certain facts that Fiorina cannot escape. The first is that in the only plebiscite on her leadership the fake vote over the acquisition of Compaq Computer which made the HP employees, men and women repudiated her. Fiorina may claim now that HP's current strong business is the product of her strategy, but the fact is that the first requirement of corporate leadership is to get the employees to follow. She used hardball tactics to suppress the opposition of Walter Hewlett, the company's largest shareholder and the son of its co-founder William Hewlett, to the Compaq merger. When the company's struggling corporate computer division failed to meet its sales growth targets, she abruptly fired three top executives in what many people, both inside and outside the company, saw as a public hanging at that, she failed miserably.
Fiorina had difficulty getting top executives to work together, unlike other top CEO's. this shows her Poor decision making skills and employee involvement. Perhaps she lacked in her inner thought called as "INTUITION"-ability to know when a problem or opportunity exists and select the best course of action and people without conscious reasoning (ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR- STEVEN L MCSHANE). Failure to create the right impressions with the people that matter, and an over reliance upon vision and charisma as leadership tools was one among the reason for her fall. These symptoms of her failure indicates me that she is not good in "COMMUNICATION COMPETENCE"- A person's ability to identify appropriate communication patterns in a given situation and to achieve goals by applying knowledge.( ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR- STEVEN L MCSHANE-pg:322). Employees celebrated her departure. At HP's Boise facility, employees distributed Hostess Ding Dongs to announce, "The witch is dead" (Malone, 2007, p. 386), downed her to the bottom of HP history. Lack of humility may well be the single most important contributor to Carly's fall from power. She failed to demonstrate realistic self-appraisal, openness to new ideas, or a sense of transcendence. Fiorina was extremely confident in her abilities. Meanwhile, the truth is that, for all of her "POST FACTO JUSTIFICATIONS"-Justifying choices consciously inflating the quality of the selected option and deflating the quality of discarded options. (ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR- STEVEN L MCSHANE-pg:268 )Carly Fiorina was a failure at Hewlett-Packard.
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE LEADERSHIP FOR LEADERSHIP ETHICS THAT CAN BE DRAWN FROM THE EXPERIENCES OF CEO'S
Ethics refers to the "study of moral principles and values that determine whether actions are right or wrong and outcomes are good or bad". Leadership ethics supports the values and morals towards the organisation contributed by a leader.
Ethical leader possess humility, honest and straight forward, takes responsibility and shows respect for each individual. Carly once helped an employee by giving money whose wife was admitted in hospital. This shows that she values individuals more than her organisation.
One will lose his ethics if his past work culture and professional life is affected.
Changing the reward and evaluation systems and corporate structure also had negative ethical consequences. Ethical individuals behave morally in their leadership roles and, at the same time, promote ethical conduct in followers. Fiorina fell short of this standard. Through their poor example and disregard for HP's ethical heritage, the directors undermined the firm's moral reputation. Fiorina and the HP board were both ineffective and unethical. Here I would like to attempt framing the values of ethical leadership which should be followed by a leader , unlike Carly Fiorina.
Personal conflicts and power enhances the meaning of ethical leadership. Focussing on Carly Fiorina, her personal conflicts in the public portraits her to be unethical. My point is to explain that a personal life of a leader has to be balanced when it comes to social media. Carly pictured herself as personally unbalanced women in media when she was caught for her illegal marriages and abortions. This kind of conflict will terminate the image of a leader whatever they had built in the past and present.
WHAT LEADERSHIP LESSONS CAN YOU LEARN SO THAT YOU WILL BE A BETTER LEADER?.
According to Ken Maupin:"Leaders are usually distinguished by their ability to think big. But as their focus shift, their thinking shrinks." Just like in the case of Carly, we came to know that her ability to think was high in the initial stage especially when she introduced new policies like "incentive programs" to the employees. But eventually her focus towards the merger of Compaq and HP was shifted and it leads to her fall in the company and with her employees. Here I would like to add a point that leaders are attaining their maximum and they tend to fall after a point which shows their imbalance growth.
Poor communication is one among the main reason for a leader to fall. Effective communication is so much easier when you know what you actually want to say. In this case, Carly's lack of operational skills and failure to chart a coherent direction of the company was considered as a complain among her employees. From Mr.Dwight Eisenhour point of view: "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants do it". One should learn to handle the employees and get the work done by them. Coming to Carly Fiorina, she failed in handling employees and fired more than expected which includes top executives.
A good leader has an exemplary character. It is of utmost importance that a leader is trustworthy to lead others. A leader needs to be trusted and be known to live their life with honestly and integrity. A good leader "walks the talk" and in doing so earns the right to have responsibility for others. True authority is born from respect for the good character and trustworthiness of the person who leads. Integrity and Trust builds a leader in an organisation. Employees want honest leaders whom they can trust. Integrity means that a leader's character is whole, integrated and grounded in solid moral principles.(THE LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE-RICHARD.L.DRAFT pg50). When leaders model their convictions through their daily actions, they command admiration, respect and loyality. So it is very important that more than being a leader, one should first be a good individual who has his own ethics and moral principles in his life.