Todd Bradley, the head of Hewlett Packard’s PC business has affected quite a turnaround at a company that had for too long on run on printer powder. Business journalist accounts of the turnaround are manifold; many of which pin the success on a renewed retail strategy. I, for one, believe the turnaround is due to the man in charge. When Mr. Bradley stepped in, he left the comfort of his office. He toured production facilities, talked to production teams, suppliers, channel partners and consumers. He asked questions and then listened for the answers. When patterns of information started to form, the big picture issues emerged and he began to made decisions. Where are we weak? Where are we strong? What can I fix near-term? Long-term? What do I want to be known for tomorrow? What do people want today?
Here’s a man who knew what questions to ask and to whom he should address them. And he listened. In deference to multivariate statistical analysis, sometimes a good ear is all it takes to turn around a business.