Lessons in Leadership: Fran’s HP Way – Outside Insights Podcast Episode #17

by placers on January 21, 2022 in Outside Insights


Welcome to the latest episode of Outside Insights Podcast #17. I recently interviewed a mentor, a friend, a customer and an exceptional leader, Fran DiNuzzo. Fran is an executive who has built his career around growing people and companies.

I was honored that Fran took a break between his CEO responsibilities and Board of Advisor work to share his story and his ideas with the Outside Insights community. Fran cut his leadership path in Hewlett Packard, a leading manufacturer of computers and other information technology products that many of us know as HP. During his time at HP, Fran learned and now talks openly about the HP Way.

The HP Way is the company’s philosophy – a guide for how it should operate, how employees should treat each other and how the organization should maintain its values as it grows. We’ve talked a lot about defining your personal values in Outside Insights, and a company is no different. For a company, markets and products will inevitably change, but the collective commitment to its core values should be unwavering.

10 years ago, I gave a talk on profitable growth to Fran’s company. After the talk, he challenged me and candidly said that I had seemed off and not quite what he expected from me that day. His instinct was right – my company had experienced a big setback. Days earlier, our building had flooded, our server room ignited and I had to rebuild my presentation from scratch. I was a shell of myself.

The problem was, rather than open with the truth, I stood in front of hundreds of people sleep deprived for more than two days, and I tried to fake it. It did not work.

But two weeks later when I did the talk to another region it was immensely more effective – all thanks to Fran’s coaching.

So, what did I change? What did Fran teach me?

After telling him about my string of bad luck that had resulted in the lackluster presentation, Fran smiled warmly and said “Then tell them your story. Share the whole thing. Get the crowd behind you. They can all relate one way or another.”

Then I realized, that in the end – being able to empathize and relate to another human is where the real magic is. Where real connections are created and where inspiration can be found. That’s part of my inspiration around Outside Insights!

When I opened up for that next talk, I relaxed, put my walls down, was authentically myself – and that was the most comfortable I’ve ever felt as a speaker.

Similar to my experience with Fran, I’m positive you’ll learn something valuable by listening to this podcast. Fran discusses:

– His leadership philosophy and how he develops others and Pays it Forward.
– His star model of driving business strategy down to results.
– The best advice I have ever heard on how to get re-energize yourself as a leader: Go talk to your people and find out what’s working and what’s not working and gain ideas for adding value to their lives.

If you enjoyed Fran’s story and lessons in leadership, I recommend listening to these past Outside Insights episodes:

Podcast # 2 Lessons in leadership: Going against the Grain, Ralph Cetrulo
Podcast # 3, Lessons in Leadership: Give Your Team the Power to Call the Shots.

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