The Cuntz file Featured

6:46am EDT July 31, 2006
Born: Cincinnati, 1953

Education:
Accounting degree, master’s degree in finance, Xavier University

First job:
Managed Burger King restaurants in Northern Kentucky

What is the greatest business lesson you’ve learned?
You must always, always, always tell the truth, act with integrity, never mislead anybody about anything, no matter how bad it hurts. Everything you ever say or do comes back on you. I have never seen it fail, whether we deal with one another internally or whether we’re dealing with a customer.

The world is such an ephemeral place. A lot of times you might be tempted, when you disappoint a customer, to maybe say something that’s misleading. The customer winds up searching around to solve the problem, and if they felt they’ve been misled, you never get that customer back.

There’s no point to it — everyone understands that it’s not a perfect world. So when you act with integrity, you’re putting someone’s best interest in front of your own embarrassment or your own disappointment. And the only way to meet or exceed a customer’s expectation is to deal with them with integrity.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?
I’ve got a lot of mentors. Probably the greatest inspiration to me was a philosopher by the name of Napoleon Hill. ... He was the first person to organize a thought process on how to succeed.

Many people have stumbled across it, but what you find out is once you understand this person’s thought processes, you can look at almost any other person and start to appreciate who those people are and how hard their job is, and that they’re probably pretty decent folks or else they couldn’t get to where they’re at.

What has been your greatest pleasure in business?
It is really, really a pleasure, when you have a successful company, to associate yourself with other people who aspire to do good things. The hardest person for us to find is someone who is inspired, who is coming in with the flame every day, someone who has a vision, who has a burning desire to see things in this world get better. And it is such a pleasure for me to work with really quite a few people today that I’m able to work with and share in their enthusiasm. That really is exciting.

I’ve hired people from a lot of larger organizations in the last few years, and I used to just laugh ’til I cried when I’d come in and say, ‘Lets talk about this,’ and (they’d say), ‘OK, give me my opinion, and I’ll go get it done.’ It’s like, where did you learn to think that way?

So it’s great to watch people transform when they realize they can go do things and they’re empowered to make decisions and that they’ll take the accountability for it. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.