The Keyser file Featured

8:00pm EDT August 26, 2007

Born: Harrisburg, Pa.

First job: A junior officer in the Navy submarine corps

Education: Bachelor of science degree in nuclear science from the U.S. Naval Academy, MBA from Harvard Business School

Whom do you admire most in business and why?

On various dimensions, there are lots of people who have done certain things really, really well, but the people I admire the most are the ones who get it done quietly, that are not necessarily outside personalities that you know about or hear about. There’s a quote that I like to use by Lao Tze (Laozi), a Chinese philosopher. He said, ‘The lead people walk beside them. As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. When the best leaders’ work is done, the people say, “We did it ourselves.”’

There are lots of examples of people who do certain things really well, but the people who create lasting change are going to lead the organization, and the measure of how good a leader they are is how well the organization does after they leave.

Keyser on corporate responsibility: Philosophically, organizations are a product of the society that we live in. Like doctors, we have an obligation to first do no harm, to minimize our impact, and then, in our own self-interest, to do what we can to help the community in which we live and work, to help maintain our environment and be able to hand it off to the next generation.