In my book, “To Find the Way of Love” I describe how hierarchies came to be, what sustains and grows them, and how we are often the poorer because of them. They are everywhere and unfortunately, more often than not, they support inequality and control. Exceptions are rare but they do exist and illustrate how much happier, more productive, creative and successful the environment can be: to everyone’s benefit, one path to the way of love.
My admiration for Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard is well known by my friends and former associates.I worked with Hewlett for years when I was interim CEO then CEO at Palo Alto – Stanford Hospital and he was my boss.
Hewlett and Packard began their company in a garage. They had a deep respect and admiration for their team. They expected people to do their best. Early on, they informed their employees they had set a profit target. After that number had been reached, there would be profit-sharing.
Both men became billionaires. I admired their leadership and shared their belief in mutuality and respect in management. I felt I had succeeded when, years later, I resigned to take another position. The management staff gave a party for me and presented a book of over 100 letters from the people I had worked with for years.
I quote from three that typify the rest. Al of them spoke to what matters to me and what I wish could be more the environment within the highly structured entities which are hierarchies. From the Manager of Laundry and Transportation: “For the past few years, I can honestly say my life has been enriched through the opportunity of working with you . . . I feel as I stated, “working with you instead of working for you . . . it has been my pleasure.” From the Manager of Information Services: “Your greatest achievement is our ability to think of you and ourselves so unhierarchically ‘Bare is brotherless back’ and we’ve all felt warmly clothed. From the Bureau of Hospitals Examiner:
One of our first meetings unveiled a mutuality of aims and a philosophy that revealed to me that you were more than a successful executive . . . your concerns were for the best that our individual selves can express and contribute to our culture and nation.” Why can’t we strive to achieve success while expressing our mutual humanity and respect?
Oliver & Barbara