The Keister file Featured

8:00pm EDT March 26, 2007

Age: 61

Born: Laurel, Md.

Education: Graduate of Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program

What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?

Know where you are going. It is impossible to lead an organization anywhere unless you know where you are headed. Only then can others understand the mission and the possibilities for the future.

What traits or skills does a business leader need?

One of the most important skills any business leader must have is a good grasp of communication. You must be able to humbly and yet confidently communicate to others what your vision is for the company and what its mission is, or there is little chance it will ever get translated throughout the organization. Only through that constant communication and reinforcement can you drive the culture through the organization.

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

A leader must have integrity and must lead by example. Small things matter. Furthermore, everyone needs to receive feedback on their accomplishments and performance. They need to know that the leadership appreciates what they are doing, and they need to hear the brutal facts when they make poor decisions.

What is your definition of success?

A company that is built to last, one that has a strong foundation and a strong core, one where people feel they matter and where they belong. To have a future, you must have growth for everyone. From our lowest- to our highest-paid people, from our vendors to our customers, from our leaders to our shareholders, everyone must share in the success. At the end of day, success is defined by setting and achieving goals.