Meg Whitman does not have the luxury of 100-days

I recall Lou Gerstner making us laugh when we asked him about the 100-days he’s so supposedly famous for at IBM and he retorted “What 100-days? Where do you think I was in that time when the business was on fire, upstairs with my feet up saying my isn’t this is nice and toasty warm?”

Focus, commitment and energy are apparently the essential ingredients for a CEO about to work a turnaround because they’ve been hired to turn the hard into the possible. The fire already burning at HP is useful cleansing for Meg; people tend not to complain so much when there’s a cause and this one is for survival.

Meg has four immediate components to outline: what is the business to do, how is the brand to support it, what communications and
initiatives are required inside and outside the businesses and how to implement the program in a timely manner.

This is going to be like open-heart surgery – a program that will cost millions to achieve and Meg surely knows that. I’d recommend after she’s carried out a few more bodies she gather her remaining top 50 lieutenants together, get them briefed and out there in the market talking to employee groups, key customers and partners – not selling, but learning and reporting back within 8 weeks with a succinct download. This will generate an abundance of actionable insights that could move the needle and get senior management focused.

There’s also my recent Forbes blog on how a leader can learn from the kitchen table for the boardroom table:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/deancrutchfield/2011/09/19/cmo-lessons-for-the-boardroom-table-from-the-kitchen-table/

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Author: Dean Crutchfield

In an award-winning career spanning two decades, Dean Crutchfield has created, built and re-invigorated some of the world's most iconic brands.

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