Getting to know you: George Brasher

George Brasher MD of HP UK and Ireland

What do you currently do?

I am currently the Managing Director for UK and Ireland at HP, in charge of sales, marketing, P&L, and operations, across all customer segments. This involves selling a range of products and solutions, from laptops and tablets, to printers and ink, to a wide range of consumer, business and public sector customers. Most recently, we announced the world’s first production-ready 3D printing system to add to our portfolio. So clearly no two days are the same! Yet while this sounds like a lot, I am surrounded by an outstanding team of inspired and inspirational colleagues who make every day a real pleasure at work.

As many people will know, HP Enterprise and HP Inc. recently separated. This means that another big part of my job is to reinforce and reiterate what our business does to the outside world, and also give our fantastic teams an ever greater and renewed energy, focus and drive to succeed. This has been an incredible and inspiring journey so far and I’m so excited for what the future holds… I also feel like in a couple of years I will have some great advice to give to peers around managing change effectively!

What was the inspiration behind your business?

Innovation and invention have always been at the heart of HP and they definitely drive everything that we do. HP’s founders set out to change the world by developing technology that would improve the lives of people everywhere, and that’s still what inspires me to come to work every day.

Who do you admire?

Without a doubt the first person is my Dad. He was a pediatrician for 40 years in the town I grew up in. He taught me about the basics of your integrity being your most important asset, the value of listening, helping people get to the answer without giving them the answer, and treating people with respect.

Things you would have done differently?

Given the speed in which our industry moves, I don’t think there is a lot of benefit from continually ruminating over situations that don’t go the way you want them to. Instead, what I like to do – and encourage my teams to do also – is take a look at a situation or opportunity that didn’t go your way, do an assessment of what went well and what you wish had gone differently, and then list two or three items you’d change next time you’re confronted with a similar situation.

What defines your way of business?

I live by the motto: ‘You don’t get what you deserve in life; you get what you fight for.’

In everything I do, I try to remember this approach and it forms the foundation to my life – both inside and outside of the office. More broadly, there are a few key things that define my way of doing business.

First, I focus on driving reinvention and innovation, and I expect the same from my teams. In my mind, everyone has a role to play in pushing forward positive change, and I believe that innovation is a culture that should be lived every day, by everyone.

I also believe strongly in partnership. No one individual should do it alone – innovation, business success, customer and partner relationships are all best fostered together. This belief in partnership therefore extends beyond the way I manage our internal teams, right to the way I think of our partners, customers and even competitors. When we announced our 3D printing solution earlier this year, for example, we did so with partners like Nike, BMW and J&J. Our goal in including them was to create an open ecosystem for innovation related to 3D printing.

Similarly, you should do everything you can to help your customers. We recently launched a new service that combines hardware and services into a single contract with one monthly payment. This helps our customers improve their cash flow, preserve capital to invest in other priorities, and deliver a predictable and consistent IT budget. Helping our customers get access to the equipment and services they need to drive growth and opportunity, without asking them to break the bank, is a huge differentiator and opportunity for us, and a huge win for them.

And finally, when it comes to metrics, my view is: The numbers never lie. It’s this hard, cold data that keeps us honest, and while there are so many important, less tangible aspects in managing a business, constant measurement is vital. Being able to see how the business is running at a granular level allows me to make better decisions for my team, my customers and the broader company, while keeping stakeholders happy.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?

Two pieces of advice: early in your career I would encourage folks to do many different types of role or projects and learn about different functions, different customers and different geographies.  This exposure will help you figure out what area or types of work you enjoy the most as well as where you excel.  I have found that people are most fulfilled in those roles that play to their strengths and interests. It also allows you to build your network in a company or industry, which will be invaluable over time.

Secondly, be brave.  I look back and the times that I took calculated risks – whether in business opportunities or with my career – which paid off more than 90 percent of the time.  I think it is easy to hold yourself back, but don’t.