The Individual at the Heart of the Stakeholder Management Journey: Dave Packard’s 11 Simple Rules

Hristian Daskalov - HP

Getting invited to speak at the monthly coffee talk of HP’s Business Support Services team in Sofia was a great honor for me. Especially having to open the floor for a new initiative, called “Ideas Worth Sharing”, intended to spread motivating and engaging personal stories among the employee community of the Sofia based HP BSS team.

My participation was provoked by a recent article of HP’s GBS magazine where my book on Stakeholder Management was spotlighted among other employee-related success stories as part of the “In Pursuit of Your Passion” campaign.

Inside the magazine it was mentioned quite accurately that my recent publication is “the first-ever book in Bulgarian on the subject of Stakeholder Management, which provides an end-to-end overview on the key concepts behind stakeholder-oriented governance“.

Preparing my talk on the subject, i went deep down into analyzing the application of the key stakeholder management success factors in Hewlett Packard’s corporate history, which is most known for the so calledrules of the garage– a set of eleven rules that attempt to encapsulate the work ethos that Bill Hewlett and David Packard set when they founded HP. Though I fully agree whit those principles, among which – “Believe you can change the world” & “Radical ideas are not bad ideas“, i had a slightly different message to transmit.

As stakeholder-oriented thinking (and management in that regard) is all about the individual at the heart of the organizational strategy & behavior, i wanted to really break down this concept into a set of simple rules and leave them as ‘food for thought’, which is to be thought over everyone’s personal corporate experience. Nothing more simple than that, as it turned out to be. Because what Dave Packard had prepared as a brief speech for the annual management convention held at Sonoma, in 1958, was not only 11 real pearls of wisdom, expressed clearly and directly, but also the cornerstones of the successful stakeholder-oriented management.

Some of those rules, which i highlighted to define stakeholder-oriented management,  include:

Think first of the other person. This is the key – the first requirement – to getting on well with others. It is the most difficult thing to do. If you succeed, the rest is a piece of cake.

Try to understand the other person. How would you react in similar circumstances? When you see the other person’s “whys” you can’t help but get on well with them.

Check your first impressions. We are inclined not to like someone at first sight as a result of some vague similarity (of which we are not usually aware) with another person whom we have a reason to dislike. Follow the advice that Abraham Lincoln gave himself: “If I don’t like this man, I have to get to known him better”.

Take care of the small details. Watch your smile, your tone of voice, the way you look at people, the way you greet them, the use of nicknames, a memory for faces, names and dates. These small things will refine your ability to get on with others. Always be aware that these things form part of your personality.

Develop a genuine interest in people. You cannot apply the foregoing advice unless you want to like other people, respect them and be useful to them. By contrast, you can’t develop a genuine interest in people until you have experienced the pleasure of working with them in an environment of mutual appreciation and respect.

As those were my concluding remarks, everyone in the audience left the room really enthusiastic to find out how close the subject actually was to their company’s founding fathers’ corporate vision, and principles. And how close it was in the same time to their personal agenda and professional routine. Especially when given the fact that we stated discussing the topic from a far more operational approach – how we identify, analyze, position, plan, execute and monitor on our stakeholders’ management plan – in and out of the corporate affairs area.

Key point – no matter if we think of stakeholder management as a strategic planning exercise, or as a principle of doing business, it all goes down to a set of simple rules, which the brightest and most successful of all innovators have applied into their recipes for success.