The Bolte file Featured

8:00pm EDT March 26, 2007
Age: 49

Born: Philadelphia

Education: Business/finance and Spanish degrees, Mount St. Mary’s University

What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?

Only do business with people you trust. That is the one thing that is universal.

You absolutely have to be able to trust people. I think any time that trust is present, there is an opportunity. If there is no trust, it’s like a bad relationship. It’s not a healthy way to build a company.

What traits or skills really benefit a business leader?

I think it’s important that you are a really good storyteller. People will pick up on that. People will have a level of comfort if they can count on their leaders to be a certain way and articulate what is going on within the company. I think that’s an important skill, and you hone it through years and years of practice. When I started out, I was an awful public speaker, but I worked with a speech coach. I learned that if you can’t communicate, you are going to have trouble being a really good leader.

How do you define success?

Obviously, financial success is nice because that’s what keeps us around as a company. But in running a business, knowing that 2,100 families call us home, gives me a sense of satisfaction and success. Then, what your customers are saying. If you are to survive as a business, your customers had better be saying good things about you, so you want to meet and exceed the needs of your customers and clients.

Bolte on keeping your messages simple: You might be reading this big strategic plan, you’re wandering through it, and then you’re constantly looking back, saying, ‘What the heck did that mean, and how does it pertain to other things?’ Maybe it has been my own inability to focus on three or four pages, but I always put myself on the other side. What am I listening for? If a typical person can get through three or four messages, they’re doing quite well. Once you start to get to 10, 11 and 12 messages, you start to dilute what you’re really trying to accomplish