Posts Tagged ‘rules’

Cultural lessons from HTC

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Peter Chou, CEO of phone maker HTC, according to Bloomberg, recently sent out an email to employees complaining that “we have people in meetings and talking all the time but without decision, strategic direction or sense of urgency,” and he also said that when HTC employees did decide to do something, they “either didn’t do it or executed it loosely.”  Also, that employees needed to unshackle themselves from the culture of bureaucracy and just get things done regardless of whether they’re done exactly according to company rules and regulations.  “Don’t let the processes, rules and norms to impact our important goals,” he wrote. “Of course we have to follow certain rules and criteria but don’t let small things kill the major goals… Please make sure that we kill bureaucracy… Stay firm with the hero innovations and make them even bigger and deliver them.”

It isn’t unusual for people to feel that meetings are a waste of time or that rules get in the way of productivity but I can’t recall a CEO publicly saying so before.  Clearly there is a culture that encourages conformity and avoids risk-taking, and it is his job to change that to one that is more productive.  HTC have a good reputation and a good product line that in many ways rivals Samsung’s very successful phones, but it has been having financial problems despite this. 

Far too often in business leaders, as well as workers,  lose sight of what is important, and why they are doing things and how these contribute to their overall goals. 


  1. Bloomberg

New from old–a recipe for Change

Monday, May 21st, 2012

This weekend I went to a very unusual concert in the historic setting of Trinity College chapel in Cambridge.  It was part of the early musical festival.  It featured a Norwegian group of singers call Trio Medieval, who played with Arve Henriksen.  They sang largely unaccompanied, apart from Arve.  Their repertoire was based on 12-13th century music, both religious and folk based. 

They sang magnificently but what interested me is that, of course, there are no recordings of how this music sounded all those years ago.  Records of the music are sketchy and the music has been handed down from generation to generation, no doubt changing as it went.  They say that they find freedom in this vagueness and use what they know to as a basis for their music rather than feeling straight-jacketed by tradition. 

Arve, plays a trumpet, but makes sounds with it that sound like anything but a trumpet, using modern technology to further change and modify his sounds.  At times it sounded more like jazz than monastic music. 

The fact is Change is just doing something different with something familiar.  I wasn’t certain whether I would want to hear much more of their music but I was sure I was very pleased to have been there.  It was fascinating to hear something so familiar turned on its head and presented afresh.  If you want to change, forget the rules, just play, explore and see where that leads you.  Rules are just short-cuts but they always lead back to the familiar.

“If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere.”   Marilyn Monroe

“Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.”   Thomas A. Edison

If you don’t like the way the game is going, change the rules!

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Yesterday the chancellor announce a suite of new measures to change the way the economy is heading, reducing VAT rates, talking about new Income Tax bands, deferring car tax increases.  Things which were unthinkable a little while ago are now happening!  Political parties are having to quickly revisit long-held beliefs and search for the real underpinning values and separate them from mere policies.

Today maybe a good day for you to consider what is really important and what is just a way to get it.  If you aren’t enjoying the results you are getting, it is time for you to change the rules too!

“My doctrine is not a doctrine but just a vision. I have not given you any set rules, I have not given you a system.”   Buddha

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”   Albert Einstein


Article: Who sets the rules