Fiorina explains how to change

'Discipline, rigour and measurement' are the three key factors to any change, be it corporate or personal, according to HP's former chief executive

Carly Fiorina, ex-chief executive of HP, offered some advice to anyone looking to transform their business, speaking at the Global Business Forum in Sydney on Wednesday.

Fiorina spoke about her "leadership framework", which means viewing an entire organisation as a combination of hardware and software.

"I would argue that structure, process, measurement and results are, to use technology terms, the hardware of the institution. The software is culture, behaviour, personality, values.

"Just like a computer will not work without hardware and software, neither will an institution. We can't just change the hardware, you also have to change the software," she said.

According to Fiorina, a successful transformation will also require a balance of optimism and realism: "Optimism fundamentally is the belief that things can be better and people are capable of achieving more. Realism is what provides the discipline and rigour around change."

"All change takes discipline and rigour. I don't care if change is losing weight or transforming a company. You better have discipline, rigour and measurement. And by the way, change happens in small steps," she added.

Fiorina also explained her decision to take up positions on the boards of two companies — Cybertrust and Revolution Health — since her departure from HP just over a year ago: "In the next five years the biggest areas of technological change will be in cybersecurity and healthcare. That is why I have chosen to sit on some company boards".

As well as musing on corporate change, Fiorina explained that she thoguht the dot-com bust signalled the "end of the beginning" for technology.

She said that within 25 years, technology would be so integral to our lives that we would take it for granted.

Fiorina told the audience of business leaders that by 2030, technology would be "woven into the fabric of life".

"The dot-com bust signalled the end of the beginning — now we have entered the main event of technology... We are talking about an era where technology is woven into the fabric of life and almost disappears. It means that technology is in everything and everywhere," said Fiorina.

According to Fiorina, the change will happen gradually, "although it is clearly going on now".

Munir Kotadia reported from Sydney for ZDNet Australia. For more ZDNet Australia stories, click here.