The Grierson file Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2007

Born: Detroit

Education: Bachelor of science degree, U.S. Naval Academy; MBA, Wayne State University, Detroit

History: Joined Pulte Homes in July 2004; president of Delaware Valley Division since May 2006

What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?

I think it’s to surround yourself with great, passionate people full of ideas and who are hopefully more talented than I am.

To make an organization successful, you need a strong team of folks like that who will be able to influence the entire organization. The sooner you have those people on board, the sooner you’ll become a high-performance operation.

What skills or traits are essential for a business leader?

Passion for what you do. Jack Welch always talked about being passionate about what you do, and I believe 100 percent in that.

Secondly, communication skills are paramount. Then talent selection, being able to hire good people, understanding what your organization needs and being able to fill those gaps with folks. Then the other one is to be passionate 24-7, having a great attitude.

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

One of them is there will be great times and challenging times. Through them both, you need strong leadership.

Through the good times, there is a tendency to let down your guard and not necessarily reinvest back into the things you need to do just because things are good. At the same time, when things are tough, you need strong leadership to keep the course going.

The other universal truth about leading is that it’s about people regardless of the business. Good leaders can go to different businesses and do well because of their leadership skills.

What is your definition of success?

It’s when our organization has exceeded its goals, our team feels a sense of achievement, and we have developed our team members to allow them to grow in their careers. At the end of the year, if I can say we did those things, it’s been a great year.