The Norwood File Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2009

Born: Wilmington, N.C.

Education: Undergraduate business degree from The College of William & Mary; graduate school at the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Thought is the most productive form of work. It was given to me by a college professor in undergraduate school who had been a CEO of Dow Chemical … and was teaching this class as an adjunct faculty member. He said, ‘Don’t ever be apologetic for sitting and thinking. It may not look like your working but that’s the most productive form of work you do,’ and it’s so very true.

What’s your favorite business book?

One of the most useful books I’ve encountered is ‘Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity,’ by David Allen. It is, hands-down, the best book on work management and life management. … Stephen Covey’s ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ — it’s a classic, and then there’s a third one called, ‘It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques From the Best Damn Ship in the Navy,’ by (Michael) Abrashoff. … It’s a fun, easy read, and it’s a great read for anyone who manages people.

What was your first job?

I worked in a sporting goods store — all my friends thought I had the coolest job in town, and I made $1.50 an hour, and my then girlfriend, and now wife of 33 years, got all of that every Saturday night when we went out on a date. I always came back Sunday morning broke.

Whom do you admire most and why?

I often talk about in the business realm, Dwight Eisenhower, and it’s not a common choice that people would make, but when I look at what he accomplished in his life, he became supreme commander of all the Allied Forces putting together the D-Day invasion, and he did that in a remarkable way, against incredible odds, without the benefit of fax machines, e-mail — I mean all he had was typewriters and mimeograph machines and the character that he had was the key to his success.

On the day that he gave the order for D-Day to go, he had written two letters — one was a letter he had written to every soldier, airman, seaman, who was going into the field of operations, reminding them of the reason they were doing what they were doing and entrusting to them the success of the outcome. Then he wrote another letter, I think it was to President Roosevelt, accepting personal sole responsibility for the abject failure of the D-Day invasion, in the event that it failed. He put that in his safe and was prepared to take full responsibility if he failed, but he gave all the credit to the people on the ground if it succeeded. I think history shows that he was one of the most effective leaders.