The Power of Humility and Lateral Thinking in Leadership

In this episode of the Let's Go Win podcast, I chat with Dave McQuarrie, the Chief Commercial Officer at HP. Dave has an extensive leadership background in the IT industry and has worked in multiple countries around the world. We discuss the importance of humility and lateral thinking in leadership, as well as explore topics such as work-life balance and the power of AI.

The HP Disabilities Impact Network:

The HP Disabilities Impact Network is an employee resource group that focuses on advancing individuals with disabilities in the company and the community. This group aims to ensure inclusivity and accessibility in HP's offices and work practices. Dave shares his personal connection to this cause, as his second daughter has a developmental disability, which has inspired his involvement in the network. He emphasizes the importance of purpose-driven leadership and creating a supportive environment for all employees.

Embracing Different Perspectives through International Experiences:

As someone who has lived and worked in six different countries, Dave strongly believes in the value of being a foreigner and a visitor in someone else's country. He shares how these experiences have shaped his perspective and taught him humility. Dave encourages everyone to embrace different cultures and gain a global perspective, as it fosters acceptance, humility, and a deeper understanding of others. He believes that being open to different perspectives is essential in leadership and encourages continuous curiosity and growth.

The Power of Humility in Leadership:

Dave emphasizes the importance of humility in leadership and shares his personal journey of remaining curious and open-minded throughout his career. He believes that humility allows leaders to stay grounded, continue learning, and be receptive to new ideas and perspectives. He mentions that humility has also allowed him to appreciate the brilliance of others and be inspired by those around him. Dave believes that leaders who remain humble are more effective in building strong and inspiring teams.

The Role of Lateral Thinking in Leadership:

Dave introduces the concept of lateral thinking and recommends reading "Lateral Thinking" by Edward de Bono to gain a better understanding of the topic. Lateral thinking involves approaching problems from different angles and challenging the status quo. He believes that lateral thinking is a key attribute of successful leaders and encourages individuals to practice and develop this skill. Dave highlights the importance of pausing before addressing a problem and asking questions that challenge conventional thinking.

Navigating Remote Work Challenges:

With the rise of remote work, Dave acknowledges the challenges that leaders face in maintaining engagement and connection with their teams. He discusses the difficulty of recreating in-person interactions and the need for leaders to adapt their engagement strategies. Dave suggests being deliberate in allocating time for team interactions and recreating the informal conversations that often happen in a physical office. He also emphasizes the importance of leaders continually educating themselves on how to navigate this new work environment.

The Pursuit of Work-Life Balance:

Work-life balance is a topic that Dave explores, citing a survey conducted by HP that revealed 83% of workers would take a pay cut for a better work-life balance. Dave acknowledges that achieving work-life balance is a challenge, especially in a world where work has crept into our homes due to remote work arrangements. He stresses the importance of focusing on meaningful work and delivering results rather than constant availability. Dave advises individuals to be deliberate in separating work and personal life, leaning into each aspect fully when appropriate.

The Transformative Power of AI:

Dave discusses the advancements in AI technology, particularly in the area of generative AI. He highlights the benefits of AI being used locally rather than relying solely on cloud-based systems. Dave explains that local AI capabilities can offer faster, more secure, and cost-effective solutions. He mentions HP's plans to release products that harness the power of generative AI, enabling users to perform tasks more efficiently and effectively, such as transcribing conversations or automating actions based on audio data. He emphasizes the potential for AI to transform various aspects of our lives.

The Philosophy of Stoicism:

As the conversation comes to a close, Dave shares his passion for the philosophy of stoicism and recommends reading works by stoic philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. He highlights the practicality and relevance of stoic principles in today's world, emphasizing the focus on joy, discipline, and control over one's thoughts and actions. Dave encourages individuals to practice stoicism and find joy in the present moment rather than constantly seeking external validation or future accomplishments.


Dave McQuarrie shares his wisdom on humility, lateral thinking, remote work challenges, work-life balance, AI, and stoicism in leadership. His experiences as a global leader and his commitment to purpose-driven leadership provide valuable insights for aspiring leaders. By embracing humility, practicing lateral thinking, and staying open to different perspectives, leaders can create positive change and make a meaningful impact in their organizations and communities.

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