STRATEGY SYSTEMS PLANNING THE HEWLETT-PACKARD WAY, THE BLAIR RULES. When we work with our corporate clients to conduct their strategy systems planning for the upcoming years, there are many ways that we approach the process – a process that’s always specific to the individual company and is never a cookie cutter approach in an effort to make “one size fit all.”

Typically, we begin strategy systems planning processes by collecting vast amounts of data that depict where the company has been, what it’s been doing, what it has attempted to accomplish, and how well those efforts have gone.  There are times when that “data collection” can include inanimate objects in addition to specific data, as in the recent case with Hewlett-Packard and their focus on all of the 40 PCs that they once produced.  This is similar to the process that Mulally’s change management process used at Ford several years ago (that I describe in THE BLAIR RULES), when Mulally compared all the cars that Ford was making at the time in order to gain an understanding that many economies were available to the company through standardizing apparatus such as door handles.

In the case of HP’s systems planning, when Dion Wiesler became head of the company’s computer business in 2013, he called for the assemblage of the company’s various 40 PCs in one room on one huge table – showing a variety of styles, sizes and colors.  His intent was to cause the company’s employees to feel embarrassment at the disparate array.  As a result of this visual and impactful review, Wiesler was able to have the company focus on sleeker designs and high-performance machines and, when he took over as CEO of the newly split-off company, HP Inc. in 2015, he was able to continue this push in order to boost revenue and gain market share.  As a result, the company’s stock has risen 77%.

That’s how the best of strategy systems planning work is done – and how one manages change in order to bring ALL THE MOVING PARTS into alignment.

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