The Cox file Featured

8:00pm EDT March 26, 2007
Age: 54

Born: Chicago

Education: Bachelor’s degree, science and humanities, Iowa State University

What types of people do you admire most in business?

Those who are honest, ethical and available. Availability is very important. I’ve worked for people who weren’t available to anyone, and even if the business runs well, it’s hard to admire people who are supposed to be leaders but don’t make themselves available. I also think those who attempt consensus but make decisions when consensus can’t be achieved in a reasonable amount of time. People who can tell you ‘no’ and you understand and can accept it.

What are some universal truths you learned about leading a business?

One is, there can’t always be consensus. Two is, when examining particular business opportunities or problems, view it from a customer’s perspective first. How many times have you sat in a business discussion where no one is thinking about the impact on the customer? Three, understand — and make sure your customer understands — your differentiators from your competition. Four, people are the greatest asset you have and have to be protected as such. You have to give them an environment they can succeed in.

How do you define success?

For me, it’s the three groups I have to satisfy: the shareholders, customers and employees. If I can satisfy the goals and objectives of those three groups, and I have enjoyed myself, man, that’s just the perfect success.