The Fine file Featured

8:00pm EDT August 26, 2007

Age: 57

Born: New York City

Education: Bachelor’s degree, economics, Tufts University, Boston; master’s degree, health administration, University of Minnesota

What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?

I think in a fairly long career as chief executive, I think really the lesson I carry closest, in many respects, is to not always expect of others exactly the same effort or outcome you think you would achieve yourself. You need to allow for diversity of opinion and diversity of approach. You need to be prepared to be disappointed sometimes with what someone else produces, and always be prepared to give people a fresh start.

What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?

I believe that leadership by example is crucial. If you want a high-performing organization, you have to work hard and be high-performing yourself. This isn’t a spectator sport. This is a job where personal engagement is essential. You have to be perseverant, even sometimes stubborn, to nurture a point of view that might be counter-cultural.

What are several universal truths you’ve learned about being a leader?

Every day isn’t going to be a good day. But you manage toward the mix of successful days, you reflect on the occasions that exist where you didn’t achieve success, you learn from them, you regroup, you reposition and go at the same problem in a different way a day, week or month later, and you’re tenacious about the goals you set.

What is your definition of success?

I believe it’s that when you step down from the job you’ve held, people will recall the contributions you made to the organization and believe that you made a difference.