The Osterfeld File Featured

8:00pm EDT March 26, 2009

Born: Cincinnati

Education: Bachelor’s degree, business management, Miami University

First job: Cleaning locker rooms for my father at the Eastern Hills indoor tennis club

What do you like best about being a leader?

The satisfaction I’ve gained after doing this for 25 years, watching employees and franchisees, people who have been in the system five, 10, 15 years, and watching them have success. Watching them come in and start at the bottom of the company and make their way up through the ranks, or in a franchisee’s case, watching somebody come in that can barely scrape up enough money to open up one store, and now maybe they have 17 or 18 and live in a big house and things are going great for them.

What skills do business leaders need to be successful?

First and foremost, passion and commitment. Employees look up and if they don’t see passion and commitment from the people leading the company, they’re not going to follow. You can’t be a hypocrite in that regard. You do things that your employees buy in to, and the relationship with your employees needs to be such that there’s open dialogue. Where there’s open dialogue they’ll feel like their opinion matters. If you take in their opinion and you’re decisive and use common sense, people will follow. Last but not least is integrity. I don’t think that’s something you think about when you get up every day; you either have integrity or you don’t. If you ask that your employees show integrity and they’re dealing with your customers, then obviously you need to show the same to them and how you treat others.

If you could have another job instead of a business leader, what would it be and why?

Owner of the Cincinnati Bengals. I’d like to relieve the annual suffering of the loyal fans of the great city of Cincinnati.