A: Understand that everyone brings their own unique personality. Try to make sure the entire team has a shared set of characteristics: courage, the willingness to take risks, confidence. They must be effective as coach and motivator. These far exceed differences that exist, and people work well together as a result. You need rules of the road. One rule is to respect each other. We expect all of our leaders to embrace those rules.
Q: How contentious should you let a meeting become before it gets out of hand?
A: Everybody can think differently as long as they're respectful. The minute they cross the line, someone has to intervene and make sure everybody is playing by the rules. Encourage people to have a point of view, and make sure they feel comfortable expressing it. If everyone's thinking alike, then someone's not thinking.
Q: What if one of your top lieutenants gets too comfortable, too lethargic?
A: Constantly raise the bar and set objectives. There's got to be nowhere to hide. If that isn't a good fit, employees self-select out, so we haven't had much of an issue with anyone becoming lethargic.
Q: When hiring, how can you tell which bright applicants will stay with the company for the long haul and which ones will soon find the grass greener?
A: It starts with an unwavering set of hiring standards. Don't hire role players. Ask: Is this somebody with high growth potential and who can make a long-term contribution? Most companies don't exercise patience during the hiring process. There is no development system that is going to compensate for making a bad hire.
Q:HR Magazinefound that 95% of exiting employees blamed an ineffective manager. Is this also true at the upper levels?
A: Yeah. If a person doesn't like who they work for, it's going to be very difficult to achieve full potential and build a career. Great bosses are the accelerator of high-potential employees. Bad bosses are the biggest decelerator. Bosses should be great coaches and motivators. I like our leaders to have a teachable point of view and share that point of view.
Q: When a high-level executive leaves, is that a sign of an ineffective CEO?
A: Well, not on an isolated basis. A single departure is not indicative, but if you saw a pattern, that's probably something of concern.