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当务之急:惠普掌门新官上任5把火

JP Mangalindan 2011年09月27日

她是一位经验丰富的高管。但是,运营电子商务公司eBay和世界上最大、最复杂的科技公司这两者之间有着巨大差异。本文阐述的是她上任首日就必需采取的5大举措。

    李艾科重组公司的激进计划最悲惨的殉葬品之一就是WebOS。近一年前,惠普以12亿美元的价格收购奔迈公司(Palm),将这款广受好评的操作系统收入囊中。如今,Touchpad平板电脑和Veer手机这类依托WebOS的设备已经停产,这一系统的未来变得扑朔迷离。起初,它被宣布寿终正寝。随后却又传来消息,称惠普正在考虑合作伙伴及授权方案。打那以后呢?无声无息。知名信息技术分析公司Forrester的分析师弗兰克•吉列特确信,惠普应该就WebOS的发展方向给出清晰的计划,即使是抛售亦可。他说:“这项资产正在迅速老化。如果这个系统还想保住一点价值的话,惠普就得加快处置的步伐。”

了解员工

    惠特曼曾说:“我已经在董事会任职八个月了,但我确实需要深入公司内部,和员工交流。”吉列特确信,在这样一家拥有近325,000名员工的庞大公司里,这么做是防止任何可能发生的内部混乱或士气不振的关键所在。他说:“她最不希望看到的就是员工大规模流失,管理人员或关键技术人才的大规模流失会让她的开局变得更加困难。”而竞争对手如戴尔公司(Dell)和甲骨文公司(Oracle)的招聘人员可能已经在致电惠普员工询问跳槽意向了。

    眼前的例子就是:去年领导收购奔迈公司的执行副总裁托德•布拉德利的动向。据科技博客Boy Genius Report的一篇报道称,布拉德利认真考虑离职事宜已有数月之久。不管此事是否属实,失去像布拉德利这样的高管对惠普而言将是一次重大打击,尤其是在目前这个转折关头。显然,惠特曼对此心知肚明。

赢回信任

    莱维克战略沟通公司(Levick Strategic Communications)位于华盛顿特区。该公司副总裁迈克尔•罗宾逊称:“就信任而言,惠普的‘银行’赤字十分严重。”实际上,在经历了众多乱局之后,惠普亟需的是能够赢得华尔街信任的领导班子。《财富》杂志首次报道李艾科被逐出惠普后,公司股价立刻急剧飙升,这对任何公司的管理层而言都不是好兆头。而据罗宾逊称,幸运的是,惠特曼在这一领域的公众形象帮了大忙。他说:“惠特曼的个人品牌非常优良。人们信任梅格•惠特曼,她的大名人尽皆知。而惠普则多多少少属于品牌效应不足。”

摆脱过去阴影

    最后,惠特曼需要彻底摆脱过去的阴影。多年来,惠普一直失误不断。饱受争议的并购,频发的管理层丑闻和战略的不断反复已让客户、员工和股东都精疲力竭。罗宾逊认为,惠普这几年麻烦不断,惠特曼需要找出这段历史的某些缩影,并证明老一套必将一去不复返。他补充说:“与过去诀别需要在沙地上画出一条线,此前是过去,从此开始是现在。”惠特曼怎么才能找出符合这种要求的东西呢?如果未来的几个月惠普能够保持风平浪静,或许就是个良好的开端。

    译者:清远

    One of the worst casualties of Apotheker's aggressive plan to retool the company is WebOS, the critically acclaimed operating system HP inherited when it acquired Palm for $1.2 billion nearly a year ago. The discontinuation of WebOS devices like the Touchpad tablet and Veer phone puts its future in doubt. First, it was dead. Then came news that HP was debating partnerships and licensing options. Since then? Not a peep. "That asset is aging fast," says Forrester analyst Frank Gillett, who believes HP should have a clear story with where they're going with WebOS, even if it means a sale. "If it's going to have any value, they have to deal with it quick."

Get to know the employees.

    "I have been on the board for eight months, but I really need to get in there and meet its people," Whitman has said. Gillett believes doing so is crucial to stem any potential company turmoil or morale issues among the company's nearly 325,000 employees. "The last thing she wants is any kind of exodus, a management or key skills exodus that would make her start more difficult," he says. Recruiters from competitors like Dell (DELL) and Oracle (ORCL) are already likely making calls.

    Case in point: Executive Vice President Todd Bradley, who led the acquisition of Palm last year. According to a report from tech blog Boy Genius Report, Bradley has been mulling over his departure from the company for months. Whether that's true or not, losing an exec like Bradley would be a major blow for the company, particularly during this transition and, clearly, Whitman realizes that.

Bring back the trust.

    "In terms of trust, HP's bank is in serious deficit," says Michael Robinson, a senior vice president of Levick Strategic Communications based in Washington, DC. Indeed, after so much turmoil what HP needs badly is leadership that Wall Street, in particular, feels it can trust. The stock jumped radically when Fortune first reporter news of Apotheker's ouster; that's a bad sign for any company's executive management. Luckily, Whitman's profile is a big help in this department, according to Robinson. "The Whitman brand is sterling," he says. "People trust Meg Whitman; hers is a name you know. HP has more or less been brandless."

Break with the past.

    Finally, Whitman needs to make a clean break with the past. For years, HP has been plagued by stumble after stumble. Hotly debated mergers and acquisitions, executive scandals and reversals of strategy have worn on customers, employees and shareholders alike. Robinson argues that Whitman needs to find symbols of the troubled past and demonstrate how they will persist no more. "Breaking with the past requires [drawing] a real line in the sand to say that was then this now," he adds. What could Whitman find that might fit the bill? A few drama-free months might be a good start.

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