In an interview, former Hewlett-Packard board member Tom Perkins talked about his tumultuous tenure on HP's board and what CEOs can do to avoid boardroom warfare. The CEO faces a real problem. The kind of board he should have is by no means obvious. But he thinks that CEOs need a strong board that understands what he or she is really trying to do, encourages some risk-taking to get that done, and helps the CEO to realize that missing a quarter, while not good, is not the end of the world as long as the goal is right. A CEO just has to listen to the board. When the board unites and comes to you with a request, you ignore that at your peril. So his advice to CEOs whose boards have pretty specific suggestions in certain areas is: You'd better listen and either come up with a pretty good reason why that's incorrect or do it. Otherwise, you end up at crossed swords with the board, and that's a horrible situation.