Born: Germany, raised in Columbus, Ohio
Education: Engineering degree, The Ohio State University; MBA, Xavier University, Cincinnati
What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?
Don’t delay decisions. I think it’s good to make sure you have the right facts, but I’ve just found it’s better to get the right information, make the decision and then be able to adjust that decision, as opposed to paralysis by analysis.
What skills most benefit a business leader?
One which is hard for many people is listening. My favorite question is, ‘What are your concerns?’ because I find that’s when people tell you what the issues really are. They’ll tell you, ‘Here’s what I’m worried about.’
Also, in communicating key objectives, you have to let people know where you are going so they keep growing in the same direction. So if they don’t understand what your targets and key objectives are, you have to continually reinforce that communication.
What is a universal truth you’ve learned about leading a business?
There are three basic pillars, and you have to simultaneously address all three: customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and profitability. When you look at it, you can hit two of three for a short period of time, but you won’t survive long-term.
You have to be watching to make sure you’re addressing those three simultaneously. You can’t let any one of the three get too much out of the focus in relation to the others.