Lunch with Carly Fiorina

Yesterday, Carly Fiorina was the guest of honor and keynote speaker at a luncheon of senior leaders in Chicago. Carly is the former president, CEO and chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard. Here are some key points she highlighted from her new book, Tough Choices, which she described as an authentic story on the business of people. As someone who has spent over 17 years helping organizations transform and change, I enjoyed – and agreed with – her focus on the role of change in effective leadership.


Leadership is about seeing possibilities [in people and circumstances that others cannot see].

An important requirement of making good decisions is a deliberate decision-making process.

Four key components of leadership are ethics, perspective, values and judgment.

One must choose to compete in order to lead.

What matters most in the 21st century? Brainpower more than anything else. Also, innovation, education, and immigration.

Leaders are made, not born.

Leadership and Change

Leadership is about change. People who survive change best are those who are adaptable. Change has to be attempted before its reason is obvious to everyone.

Being a change agent isn’t enough. You have to be a change warrior.

Change requires significant collaboration and communication. Focus on what you agree on vs. what you disagree on.

Change requires realism and optimism.

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Sandra Schwan

1 Comment

  1. One other point I would mention about Carly’s presentation is the importance of developing an ethics statement. Don’t say that if there isn’t a rule for that behavior, it must be ok. There will not a business rule for all ethical matters.

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