It takes years to build a strong purpose- and values-driven high commitment, high performance culture. It cannot be done with a simple training program. Every policy and practice has to be evaluated in the context of espoused purpose and values. Culture is, however, very fragile. A few decisions and behaviors by top management or leaders of key businesses or operating units can undermine decades of culture building.
Consider what happened to HP...
Lauded by employees, customers, partners and shareholders alike, their high commitment culture was destroyed in only a year by a number of decisions made by Carly Fiorina, a new CEO who was brought in from Lucent by the board of directors in 1999. Not understanding or sharing HP’s values and policies, Fiorina orchestrated a merger with Compaq which had a very different culture. She bought an airplane to fly her around, thus undermining HP’s egalitarian values; laid off 15,000 employees whose love for and commitment to HP had been built over four decades; instituted a pay-for-individual-performance system and denigrated those who did not make their goals, thus undermining teamwork and commitment. Six years later, after HP’s profits and stock had declined significantly, she was asked to resign.
The HP example illustrates how five decades of investment in creating a high commitment and performance organization can be destroyed in only months.
As I noted in "JEB BUSH IN A DRESS: Top 9 Fun Facts About Carly Fiorina" -- which I highly recommend if you truly want to understand what Fiorina is all about:
Her tenures at both Lucent and HP were complete debacles. HP fired Fiorina in 2005 after she led the company's acquisition of Compaq for $25 billion -- just as the conventional PC business began to die. As John Hawkins astutely observed [, ...] her track record led multiple mainstream observers to list her among the worst CEOs of all time (e.g., CBS News, USA Today, CNBC, and ABC News among others).
It's also worth noting that Fiorina lostly badly trying to unseat Senator Barbara Boxer in her only prior election. Despite a 2010 Republican tidal wave that picked up 6 Senate seats, Fiorina lost by double digits after Boxer used the former CEO's abysmal corporate track record to erase her from contention.
Hat tip: BadBlue Real-Time Tech News.