Examine how leadership is demonstrated within the article The rise and fall of Carly Fiorina
Examine how leadership is demonstrated within the article “The rise and fall of Carly Fiorina”
In “The rise and fall of Carly Fiorina”, Carly as commonly known was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She was a strategist and a woman of strength and change as she managed to make different changes in her organization during her tenure. She showcased different elements of leadership as she was charismatic, aggressive and one who had a high profile. Such elements of leadership are often important for any individual who desires to succeed in their operations in the business world. While in Lucent Technologies, Carly was able to lead change and was always enthusiastic with the leadership style that was imaginative. All these helped her achieve her objective in HP, though was later replaced after the company started producing low profits. The personality of Carly was able to raise the company higher standards, and this is the sole elements that are needed for leaders to succeed in their endeavors.
There are also other factors that have indicated as the pillar to her success while in HP. The organizational culture, charismatic nature of the leader and gender can also be considered as other important pillars that led to Carly’s success as CEO. Personality is the overall blueprint of an individual, and this often brings out their feelings and thoughts while engaging with others in the work place. However, personality can easily change with time, and is not common with adults as they often maintain their personality about their circumstances. During her employment period at HP, Carly’s personality was seen as a great asset in the company, as it helped them achieve their goals within a short period. She possessed different elements of good leadership, and this helped her raise the company into higher heights. The CEO was visionary, unconventional and charismatic, traits that fully support successful leaders. She was always interested in improving the operations of the business, and never placed any values to the traditional goals at the time. She always recognized the problems that were in the business, and often came up with proper solutions to solve them within the stipulated time (Johnson 188).
According to Norander there are always testing booms that take place in the organization, and while personality change among adults in the work place, it is more likely that such personality shift is not an adjustment to personality, but rather a major change of an individual. Individuals can make changes to their behavior, attitudes and many other core goals in life but can never make full changes to their personality. Carly had not changed in her core personality, as she demonstrated consistent results all through her working in HP. Even before joining HP Carly had a business profile that was high, and able to make changes to different aspects of operations in any business. She fully followed after such personalities while in HP, but there are other factors that might have led to the organizations down fall in the long run (99).
While in Lucent Technologies, Carly had the ability to make changes and different innovations, elements that should be incorporated in all leaders who want to see changes in their operations. They should be far-sighted and ready to implement any changes that come their way. The leaders should also be ready to work with others for purposes of teamwork and strength in their operations. Being visionary and a leader who is an agent for change can make organizations achieve their desired goals within short periods. Such key personality traits were exhibited by Carly, and were important for her success in HP (Nee 144).
Carly also followed the values and norms of HP, and this helped her achieve her goals while working as the CEO for the company. There is always a need for organizations to make changes to their operations if they desire to adapt and survive. The leaders should also be ready to embrace the set changes so that they may align their needs and those of their organizations. This fully requires a total transformation to the culture of the organization, which often falls under their beliefs, experiences, attitudes and values. It is always the collection of values in an organization that leads to cooperation and shared values between the organization and outsiders. Carly often looked for different needs outside the company and this made her succeed in her operations. It is, therefore, clear that personality traits of leaders are often very important elements as they dictate how they will lead their organizations.
Carly failed in her operations in HP, and this was because of different reasons while operating as the CEO of the company. The CEO tried to make HP common among other competitors and she did this by trying to compete with Dell’s low-cost strategy and IBM’s high end, which was a high cost for the company. HP was a contender in both cases but emerged as the looser, and later informed by other spectators to abandon their PC business and fully operate their printer segment that was doing well during this period. Before Carly took over as CEO of the company, the printer section of the company was doing favorably well, and this later changed after some time, while she was in office (McCarthy 2).
The reason behind the failure of the CEO was the later decision to enter into the innovation aspect of the business, which made it start more inventions for purposes of competition. The CEO was not aware of the terrific nature of her staff R & D department as they came with inventions that did not appeal to many. The company lost trust and sells after their first invention, a fact that made them loose on many businesses and profits. The company CEO failed because she did not align her vision to that of her co-workers who were not in turn to the provisions she had in her mind. Being and a visionary, Carly came up with innovations that could have made the company move higher in their operations, but with their poor technical staff they were not able to achieve their targets as required.
After introducing their new line of PCs, HP should also have made the decision to come up with other different services that could be recognized with their inventions. The CEO only came up with new ideas of how to introduce new hardware in their name but forgot to produce different digital service solutions to the already produced hardware systems. Companies like Apple, under the leadership of Steve Jobs came up with new computers and also came up with the iPod digital player together with their iTunes services; this made it easy for them to sell their products that were already in the market. Such provisions usually make companies combine their different departments to come up with components that are readily acceptable by the majority (Boswood 798).
Their desire to market their line of TVs, like Gateway and Dell can only be successful if their board of directors decides to market other services that will come with their new introduction. Such a policy will make them sell of their new products as opposed to only selling their TV sets. HP is a great company and will always compete effectively in all their operations if they endeavor to use visionary leaders who are not short sited in their operations.
The trait theory of leadership is clearly demonstrated in the article, and the theory has a strong belief that most individuals often have or are born with particular qualities that make them behave and operate the way they do while in their organizations (Avolio 421). The qualities of such leaders usually make them succeed in their endeavors, and these traits are those that are embedded in an individual. Qualities like the sense of responsibility, intelligence, creativity, charisma, far-sightedness and enthusiasm among many others often make leaders achieve their desired goals easily while working for their organizations.
The trait theory of leadership fully focuses on the analyzing of social characteristics, mental and physical capabilities of individuals, in their quest to perform different duties in their organizations (Dion 4). Such characteristics are common in leaders and have been indicated by Carly who was charismatic, far-sighted and visionary while operating as a CEO of HP.
The second theory that has been demonstrated in the article is the contingency theory that clearly indicates that there are no single rules and ways of leading others while in the organization. The theory fully focuses on the idea that most individuals can perform better while at one place and fully perform below average when taken to a different situation or scenario (Yukl 285). When Carly became the CEO of HP, she was seen as an enigma of success because of her past records in Lucent Technologies. She however never made it fully in HP when compared to her operation in Lucent, a fact that should always be considered when choosing and rating leaders. Too a different extent the contingency theory is an extension of the trait theory as it fully focuses on the provisions of individuals due to their personal traits. Contingency theories are mostly used by leaders when they feel that their followers will be responsive when they come up with different policies and ideas in their new stations.
In conclusion, the contingency theory fully indicates the failure of the CEO at HP as she changed places from Lucent Technologies to HP. The situation at Lucent was different from HP but both companies dealt in similar products and services. The trait theory, on the other hand, cannot be used for the failure of the CEO because she never changed her personality, but consistently continued to develop them while coming up with innovations that were supposed to see the company grow to higher heights. Both companies made use of similar traits but the different backgrounds of the companies made the difference.
Avolio, Bruce J, Fred O Walumbwa, and Todd J Weber. “Leadership: current theories, research, and future directions.” Annual review of psychology 60 (2009): 421-449. Print.
Boswood, Adrian. “Editorial: the rise and fall of the cardiac biomarker.” Journal of veterinary internal medicine / American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 18.6 (2004): 797-799. Print.
Dion, Michel. “Are ethical theories relevant for ethical leadership?” Leadership & Organization Development Journal 33.1 (2012): 4-24. Print.
Johnson, C. “The Rise and Fall of Carly Fiorina: An Ethical Case Study.” Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 15.2 (2008): 188-196.
McCarthy, Patsy, and Caroline Hatcher. “Reputation Building: The Public Communication Styles of Carly Fiorina and Rupert Murdoch.” Australian Journal of Communication 31.1 (2004): 1-18. Print.
Nee, E. “Open season on Carly Fiorina.” Fortune 144.2 (2001): 114.
Norander, Stephanie. “Surveillance/Discipline/Resistance: Carly Fiorina under the Gaze of The Wall Street Journal.” Communication Studies 59.2 (2008): 99-113. Print.
Yukl, Gary. “An evaluation of conceptual weaknesses in transformational and charismatic leadership theories.” The Leadership Quarterly 10.2 (1999): 285-305. Print.