“Pay-for-performance systems are the way to strike the balance,” says Joel Adams, CEO and founder of Devon Consulting. “Tying pay to the value of the output decreases the risk that the employer is paying too much or too little.”
Smart Business talked to Adams about the importance of fair compensation in the workplace.
How can employers decide the best way to compensate their employees?
Every company does it differently, and most companies keep tweaking their plan. Every plan seems to have its benefits and weaknesses. And everyone is paid for performance in one way or another.
Even if everyone is on a straight salary, you pay your best and most experienced people more money because you expect them to accomplish more. The problem with straight salary systems is that the connection with productivity and overall company performance is too loose. Companies can find themselves granting everyone an annual increase while the company is losing money.
What other options do employers have?
In almost every industry, commissions are the norm for the sales staff, while piecework has been used in many production jobs. But for office workers, the service sectors and the entire knowledge-based economy, those models don’t fit very well.
Companies can connect everyone’s compensation to the bottom-line results of the company through profit-sharing plans and stock grants and options. But the weakness there is that employees rarely feel that they, personally, can affect the bottom line enough to make a difference. So those plans have little effect on productivity.
On what kind of performance should we compensate people?
People are complex with multiple needs and motivations. For the most part, they are trying to do what management wants them to do. And compensation is a greater communication tool than a motivational tool.
Say it’s 4:45 p.m. and I really want to get home on time. Which project do I work on? Which piece absolutely must be completed and which one can wait until the next morning? Employees assume that what management is willing to pay for is probably more important than something management is not willing to pay for. The compensation system helps me set priorities.
People also need to be compensated for something they have control over, or at least something that they can affect in a significant way. If they are compensated for something they don’t have control over, then the system is seen as unfair. And the communication tool has been wasted.
So we are constantly looking for things the employee should be doing to help the company achieve its goals, how to measure those things and how we should tie the compensation to them.
Should all pay be based on performance?
No. In fact, the compensation for most jobs needs to have multiple components.
Outside of sales, most people receive the majority of their income from an hourly wage or a base salary. But many people also have a bonus piece in their compensation package. Even if the amount of the bonus is small in relation to the salary, it can be huge as a communication and motivational tool. And getting the bonus piece right or wrong can have an impact on the bottom line far in excess of the amount of the actual bonus.
Your compensation system must support your company’s culture as well as support the process that makes your business model work. For example, if you need great individual performance, the bonus or commission is probably going to be based on the individual hitting his or her goals. Where you have high commission plans, you usually find some star performers. But a high commission plan may not foster a lot of teamwork.
If, on the other hand, you have a development effort such as developing a new product or doing research, where everyone must work as a team, then salary will probably account for most of the compensation and the pay-for-performance piece needs to focus more on team goals and team performance. In many cases, compensation for individual performance can destroy teamwork.
How do you know if your compensation system is a good one?
The company is hitting its goals and the employees are happy. Turnover is low and, probably, at least some of your people are making a whole lot more than their industry peers.
JOEL ADAMS is CEO and founder of Devon Consulting. Reach him at (610) 964-5703 or email@example.com.
As a successful executive, you may spend most of your time thinking about your company’s bottom line.
But how much attention do you give to your own financial situation, especially as your circumstances become more complicated? Often, taking care of your personal financial affairs can be even more complex than handling the heavy demands of a corporate career.
Smart Business talked with Stephen Pappaterra, senior vice president and managing director of PNC Wealth Management, to learn how personal financial success depends on much more than the mechanics of the investment process.
What is a comprehensive wealth management plan?
Wealth management is no longer just about hiring someone to manage your investments. It’s about taking the time to really understand your life’s goals, both business and personal, because the two are so closely intertwined. This approach asks executives to think about what they want to do with their life, rather than what they want to do with their money. It’s about dream-making. And to help make these dreams a reality, a comprehensive wealth management plan will help an executive manage current and future cash flow, plan for career changes and/or retirement, maximize their investments, minimize taxation and leave a legacy that reflects their personality and values.
What are some of the most pressing wealth management issues facing executives today?
Holding a highly concentrated equity position is a common problem among many senior-level executives. It potentially exposes their net worth to unnecessary risk, so it is extremely important to develop a strategy to diversify your portfolio to make sure your family’s wealth is not severely and adversely affected by a downturn in the company’s stock.
Another concern is how to turn paper wealth into real money. There are a number of strategic ways to gain liquidity while managing your risk and tax liabilities, including securities-based loans and charitable remainder trusts. A financial advisor can also develop a systematic selling strategy liquidating shares periodically in an orderly manner to help you maximize the proceeds of your sale.
Equally important is how you decide to pass on your wealth. A formal estate plan will not only help to pass on your legacy to your family and future generations, it can also help to minimize taxation. According to a PNC survey conducted in 2004, just 31 percent of individuals with $1 million to $10 million in investable assets have a professionally written estate plan. And an unplanned, moderately large estate can result in 45 percent or more in federal and state death taxes.
Will you be able to reach your retirement goals?
People in their peak earning years (aged 46 to 64 years) are more than twice as likely (42 percent) to be concerned about meeting their retirement goals than those younger (16 percent) or older (13 percent), according to a PNC survey conducted in 2004.
These statistics are not surprising when you look at changes occurring in the work-place. In the last decade, executives have had to take a more active role in managing their financial assets. Many companies have moved away from defined-benefit pension plans and consequently more individuals are now responsible for making decisions about how to invest their own money. Deciding how to invest can become even more complicated when an executive leaves a company and receives a lump sum distribution. It may come as a surprise to learn that an executive could save on taxes by not rolling this money into an IRA.
Executives also need to plan for life changes. For many executives, retirement no longer marks the end of a career. Instead, individuals are starting to think in terms of how they want to spend the next phase of their lives. This planning involves looking not just at future cash flow, but also considering issues such as life insurance and health care costs.
Are there advantages to seeking professional advice?
Today, financial success is no longer measured by comparing investment performance against financial indices. Instead, it involves navigating an increasingly complex investment landscape to help you safeguard your assets, enjoy your post-retirement years and leave a lasting legacy. It takes careful planning, continuous monitoring of your financial situation and adjusting your plan as new events occur in your life.
Having access to a team of experts can certainly help an executive develop sophisticated and creative solutions to managing wealth. But it is extremely important to work with an advisor who will take the time to really understand your personal and professional goals and is committed to providing objective advice to help you achieve financial success.
This article was prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as specific advice or recommendations. Any reliance upon this information is solely and exclusively at your own risk.
STEPHEN PAPPATERRA is senior vice president and managing director for PNC Wealth Management based in the Philadelphia office. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 585-6551.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in history, University of South Carolina; juris doctor, Boston University School of Law
What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?
If you want to know what is going on in business, you have to ask the people who are doing the work on the front lines. I think a lot of businesspeople just aren’t that collaborative and inclusive.
They think they live in ivory towers, but if you want to be successful in business, you have to make the front-line people a very important part of everything you do.
What traits or skills really benefit a business leader?
The ones that normally come to mind would be confidence, intelligence and the ability to communicate, but I would say the ones that probably don’t come immediately to mind but are equally or more important are vision, empathy, a willingness to lead from the front lines, humility, realizing you don’t know all the answers.
Understanding the success of the company is not because you’re a genius but because there are a lot of people working together to make it happen.
I would say, finally, the most important trait or skill of a successful business leader is probably the ability to deal with ambiguity.
What are some universal truths you’ve learned about leading a business?
One, if you want to know what is going on, ask the people who are actually doing the work. Two, if you think you can’t live without someone, you probably can’t.
Three, nothing is ever as good as it sounds. Four, very few skeptics are successful.
How do you define success in business?
It’s different for different people. Some people want to get a big contract or a parachute. For me, success is building something that is viable and sustainable for the long-term. That’s where I get my satisfaction.
That includes not just a collection of assets, it’s building a family of people, too. That’s what a company is.
It’s a family, and to me, putting it together and building it is very satisfying, and that’s what gets me up every day.
In reducing overall insurance costs, aggressive claims management can be just as important as the rate a company pays for its insurance policies. Getting the commitment of its higher-level executives to effectively manage claims is just the beginning.
“Just getting high-level commitment from top managers within an organization is critical,” says Michelle Leighton, vice president-claims for The Graham Company in Philadelphia. “It’s important in defining the corporate culture with respect to losses.” Smart Business spoke to Leighton about the importance of a good claims management team and what companies can do to keep costs low by managing the claims process.
How do losses control insurance costs over the long term?
Insurance premiums are ultimately based upon the average amount of losses, or claims, a company experiences in a given year. Insurance companies want to charge enough premium so that they will have the money to pay for the company’s insurance claims throughout the year. Insurance underwriters usually charge a premium so that 60 percent of it can be used to pay for losses. For example, if a company’s average losses were $60,000, its insurance company would want to charge a premium of approximately $100,000.
If insurance premiums are ultimately based on losses, then what are some of the steps a company can take to reduce losses?
There are two main things you can do to reduce losses. The first is to prevent the losses from occurring in the first place, and the second is to manage the claims that do occur so that the claims are paid as inexpensively as possible. If you do these two things consistently, over the long run a company’s insurance costs will go down.
What impact can a safety program have on preventing losses?
A good safety program, combined with an effective safety coordinator and management commitment, can have a significant impact on preventing losses. The safety coordinator is responsible for developing and implementing the policies and procedures so that every employee can work safely and every product or service is delivered safely. Lots of resources are available to help companies create and maintain the right safety policies. Asking your insurance broker for help is a good place to start.
What are some of the other things a company can do to prevent losses, especially workers’ compensation claims?
Hiring the right person for the job is important. Implementing the right procedures such as pre-employment physicals, substance abuse testing and ensuring the right benefits and compensation package for the positions are critical to attracting and retaining the very best employees. For example, an employer that hires a lot of seasonal employees will want to manage that hiring practice closely to ensure that at the end of the season, they don’t have significant increase in workers’ compensation claims once the season is over.
Once accidents have already occurred, what can a company do to aggressively manage those claims?
One of the key initiatives a company can implement to reduce losses is to have an internal point person for all claims issues. This person works closely with the insurance broker and the insurance company to regularly review the details of the company’s claims, especially the potentially costly cases. This team works together to ensure that claims are reported promptly, designated medical facilities are in place, claims are thoroughly investigated, and employees are promptly returned to work. An aggressive action plan is a must to bring a claim to a prompt and cost-effective conclusion.
How is management and leadership commitment important in this process?
Safety and claims performance are directly affected by whether they receive top commitment from managers and leaders in their organizations. Some examples of a strong commitment include the implementation of accountability programs, publication of safety expectations, hiring top physicians to be on hand to medically manage claims, implementing return-to-work programs and allocating the necessary resources to ensure that the job fits the worker from an ergonomic perspective. Most importantly, top management and leadership commitment will define a culture that encourages strong safety and claims management practices that will lead to good results.
MICHELLE LEIGHTON is vice president-claims for The Graham Company in Philadelphia. Reach her at (215) 701-5232 or email@example.com.
In May 2005, Michael Boult took over as CEO of StarCite Inc. and made it a priority to get to know his employees. Employees saw him walking around the meetings management company getting to know the more than 400 workers, which helped them learn to trust him. “People will identify you and be open with you when there is trust,” says Boult, who also serves as president. “But, you can’t mandate trust. You have to create it. I’m not sitting in an office dispensing e-mail. I’m trying to be visible on the floor, talking with people. People get to witness that and then you get a waterfall of goodwill.”
Smart Business spoke with Boult about how to reward employees, conduct interviews and grow a company.
Q: How do you get employees to buy in to the company message?
We’re trying to reinforce over and over again that we pay for performance, that we recognize performance and celebrate it when we find it.
We have a ‘StarCite Spotlight’ every two weeks where we embarrass someone who does something exemplary. Last week, I think we sent someone noise-canceling headphones for something they did.
We do silly things and fun things. I’m a Brit, so the World Cup was pretty important to me this year. We did a huge World Cup pool. I think the winner got $500 bucks.
It was like an international catering day. So I assigned a team to Mexico and they were responsible for feeding the office a Mexican lunch. The employees voted on what was the best lunch.
Q: How do you find good employees?
If I can find the smartest people and the most passionate people together, that’s a rarity. If I can find the smartest people without the right attitude, I give them a pass. I’ll find the second smartest person with tremendous passion and a great attitude every day of the week. We’re looking in all sorts of different places. Our employees make recommendations of friends and families. Those types of endorsements are usually the best types of endorsements.
If someone knows someone really good and they want to bring them into the company, then that’s a pretty good endorsement for the company and of the person.
Q: How do you conduct interviews?
If it’s an executive position, the executive will have to meet essentially every one of their peers. They may have eight different hour conversations with their peers and the peers will meet and talk about the person.
If we schedule them again, then they will come back for another three or four hours. We want to make sure the chemistry is right. (For lower levels) they are going to meet with the hiring manager. Then on the hiring manager’s discretion, depending on position, they are going to have that person come again and meet with their peers.
We think of it as a two-step process. One is explaining the culture and values and benefits of working in the company.
We know the person is interviewing us as well and comparing us to different places in the market. We’re very much of the mindset that we are trying to convince this person that this is the right place to work.
In an interview process, which is typically a beauty pageant, we want the person to get a real sense of the business, what’s it really going to feel like and for them to have the ability to ask some tough questions.
If we want to extend an offer to a person, then we want to take some of the guesswork out of it and make sure that person is going to be absolutely focused on the business.
Q: How do you grow a company?
You just have to go through a checklist that begins with, ‘Do I have a product people are interested in?’ Getting the product right, not internally thinking, ‘This is the greatest thing in the world.’
Then having the right marketing around it. Then you have to have the right sales strategy and that’s about people. People only buy things from people they like to do business with.
Then you have the right market. We could go to Finland, Iceland and Russia as much as we want, but people wouldn’t buy our stuff so we don’t go there.
If you get the prices in place, sales are going to flow naturally. We like to start small. We aren’t going for the home run or the Hail Mary. We like to go for singles and the occasional double.
We’ll start small with the companies, a small contract, and build performance and build trust. Over time, we’ve found we can grow 10 to 20 times the original contract inside a company.
HOW TO REACH: StarCite Inc., (800) 628-1058 or www.starcite.com
Get busy improving, or get busy declining. The greatest enemy of any business is inertia. It will stop a business quicker than anything else. It’s toxic; it should be avoided like the plague. You keep your business fresh by constantly questioning whether you can do things better. ... Look at what works, and remember, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ You’re not going to start all over if what you’ve got is working. As for the stuff that’s not working? You’ve got to fix it; you cannot stand still. This ties in with looking for people who are still growing. Finding somebody who has done all the growing he or she is going to do and is just maintaining what he or she has accomplished is not real promising going forward because nothing stands still. Everything moves in one direction or the other, so if you’ve gone as far up as you’re going to go, there’s only one way to go from there.
You cannot stand still in business, in life, or in biology. Even the simplest organism the amoeba is either growing or dying. You can’t stand still; it’s just not possible. It isn’t a question of choice. You can try to stand still - it won’t work. That’s why inertia is death.
Just make the decision, already. The most important skill for business leaders is a comfort with making decisions. Not everything is always easy, not everything is always obvious. Especially with lawyers, there is a tendency to process problems endlessly.
That’s why the most important skill for running any business, especially a large law firm, is to be decisive. You need to be prepared to make decisions and move on.
You work an issue to the point where you know what you need to know. You’ve talked to who you need to talk to, you’ve looked at it from all the different sides, and then it’s time to make a decision. There’s always one more thing you can look at, there’s always one more person you can talk to, and at some point, all that’s got to stop and you’ve got to decide and move on.
There’s an infinite number of moving parts in any position. And the skill in leadership is knowing when enough process has been done and it is time to decide. It’s experience, it’s intuition; if you’re lucky enough, it’s a bit of wisdom.
Mostly, it’s a comfort with making a decision. Most often, it’s not a lack of information that slows people down; it’s a discomfort with finality and decisiveness.
If it’s the wrong decision, admit it. The most important thing you can do with a bad decision is to admit to it. Everybody makes bad decisions every day.
You hope they’re trivial and inconsequential, but the only thing you can do with a bad decision is deal with it honestly, try to understand where it went wrong and how to fix it, so you can do better next time. But none of that is possible without the self-honesty to say you’ve made a mistake
Keep the big picture in sight. It’s a forest and the trees thing. You’ve got to be involved to the degree required to understand the business, to really have the dirt under your fingernails. You can’t do it by remote control.
But you can’t be so involved in the daily operation of your business that you spend all day bumping into trees and you lose sight of the forest. You’ve really got to keep the forest in sight as a leader, and that means that though you have to venture in among the trees, you have to make sure you get back out again and look at the forest overall.
Learn to let go. Delegation is critical. It’s the hardest thing to learn, and absolutely the most important. You cannot possibly run a business like ours let alone a larger one without it. You can’t get through the day without delegating.
It’s very hard to learn to let go. But what you have to do one more time is make good decisions about people. Then let go, let them take it from there. Empower them, let them rise or fall, but be available, and don’t hesitate to point them in the right direction.
You need to decide they are worth empowering and investing in. That’s the hard part, letting go of that decision. You’ve got to let them make their own decisions, got to let them make their own mistakes.
Empower them by letting go of the ultimate decision. You make the good decision to put a good person in that position. Their decision is going to be good or bad, but it will be theirs.
One of the biggest challenges a leader faces is letting go, whether it is developing a comfort with making a decisions and letting go, or empowering a colleague and letting go. It’s imperative to be comfortable with your decisions, and delegation is a decision. Everything you do all day is a decision, and the hard thing is getting comfortable with making those decisions.
Be courageous in the face of risks. Don’t be afraid to fail. If you are afraid to make a mistake, you’ve already failed. You will never get anywhere if you are afraid to make a mistake.
If that seeps into your leadership, it’s lethal. You have to have the courage to decide and the courage to be wrong. We all are wrong sometimes; if you’re wrong too much of the time, you’re not going to be a leader very long, but you can’t be afraid to be wrong.
HOW TO REACH: Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen LLP, (215) 977-2000 or www.wolfblock.com
Planning for the succession of a family business can be time-consuming and difficult, especially when issues of family dynamics come into play. Just making the decision to turn the business over to the next generation, rather than selling it to a third party, can be agonizing. Once that decision has been made, selecting members of the next generation to run the business takes a fair amount of time and planning.
Once developed, family business succession plans should be monitored and revisited over the years as the business and family dynamics change. It is important to understand that succession planning for a family business takes time, and careful consideration can help avoid conflict within the family, says Stephen C. Zivitz, a partner in the business department and chair of the Tax, Pensions and Estates Practice Group at White and Williams LLP. “There is an old saying that succession planning is a journey, not a destination,” he says. “It must constantly be re-evaluated as the family and business dynamics change.”
Smart Business spoke with Zivitz about the importance of succession planning for a family business and how the issues differ from nonfamily businesses.
How common is it for owners of family businesses to neglect succession planning?
I don’t see a lot of neglect, but I do see recognition that the decisions are difficult and time-consuming. There are basically three clusters of problems for family business owners to consider: whether to sell the family business to maximize value; who in the next generation will be selected to run the business if it is retained; and how to compensate family members who are not participating in the business. Each of these decisions can be difficult and can take some time for the business owners to think through.
How does succession planning differ between a family-owned business and other types of businesses?
In a nonfamily-owned business, decisions are generally made based purely on economics. In a family business, owners often make accommodations for the benefit of family members and do not necessarily try to maximize shareholder value. Additionally, family business owners need to consider the complexities and planning implications of death taxes as well as compensation for family members who are not active participants in the business.
When should owners of a family business begin succession planning?
As soon as possible particularly if there are multiple owners in the current generation. In that situation, a buy-sell agreement is a must. It is important to remember that succession plans will often change over time. It is ultimately a result, but it is as much a constant re-evaluation and analysis as it is a target.
Succession plans need to be periodically reviewed and adjusted to meet any changes in the business and family dynamics. Members of the next generation who are under consideration to run the business in the future should be given as much time as possible on the job to learn and perfect the necessary skills.
How can owners of a family business objectively plan for succession?
This can be one of the greatest challenges facing a family-owned business. It is probably not possible to remain completely objective when it comes to succession planning, particularly when there are multiple business owners from the current generation, each with their own family members who may or may not be under consideration to take over the business.
In my view, it is not critical that individuals in the next generation who are in contention to be the owners are the best persons available. However, they must be capable, interested in running the business, and ideally the best among multiple competing family members.
How do family dynamics affect succession planning for a family-owned business?
Most of the problems that I see fall into two basic clusters of issues.
First, there is a perceived need to be fair to all members of the family, particularly those who are not involved in the business. However, fairness is often difficult to achieve due to differing perspectives. As a practical matter, those not involved in the business may have to receive less in order for the business to remain in the family and survive.
Second, family relationships and perceptions may have to be overridden when designing a success plan. For example, it may be natural to assume that the oldest child will be tapped to take over the business; but a younger sibling, or even a sibling’s spouse, may be more capable and/or more interested in doing so.
STEPHEN C. ZIVITZ is a partner in the Business Department and chair of the Tax, Pensions and Estates Practice Group at White and Williams LLP. Reach him at (215) 864-6240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
No business can afford to ignore the risk posed by corporate identity theft. By assuming the identity of a corporation, perpetrators can establish new corporate credit card accounts, set up false subsidiaries using the names of legitimate companies to perpetrate fraud, or even pose as reputable businesses to lure customers into providing personal information (phishing).
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that identity theft costs American consumers and businesses more than $50 billion each year. To address this criminal activity, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) recently updated its guidelines for authentication in an Internet banking environment.
Smart Business talked with Lynn Nettleton of PNC to learn more about the new guidelines.
What effect will the new guidelines have on financial institutions?
The financial services industry is the top sector affected by identity theft, so banks are strongly committed to enhancing security to protect our clients’ financial information.
In October 2005, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council noted that for high-risk online transactions involving access to customer information or the movement of funds, single-factor authentication (such as user name and password) is no longer adequate. By the end of 2006, most financial institutions will have taken measures to enhance online authentication for their consumer and corporate customers, such as requiring their customers to answer a secret question or type a unique code.
How secure are electronic payments?
Paper transactions actually carry more risk than any other payment type. Advances in technology are helping businesses make online payments in a secure environment. The added benefit is that some of these transactions are also cheaper to process.
Automated clearinghouse payments (ACH) are a cost-effective way for suppliers and customers to make electronic payments, reducing labor costs for printing and stuffing envelopes, mailing and manually entering data. However, anyone leveraging the ACH system must enter bank account information before an electronic payment can be initiated.
To reduce the risk of account information being compromised, companies can apply for a Universal Payment Identification Code (UPIC), a unique account identifier issued through a financial institution that becomes an organization’s permanent electronic payment address. By obtaining a UPIC number, companies can mask their real account numbers. UPIC technology also limits account activity to credits and blocks all debits. If a company should move its accounts, the UPIC number remains the same.
Credit cards can help to streamline operational efficiencies. Both VISA and MasterCard have implemented universal precautions for businesses that accept card payments. These standards require companies to follow certain procedures when handling cardholder data and include a number of criteria, such as quarterly network scans and audits by qualified independent security assessors, to ensure that merchants and service providers protect cardholder data.
Purchasing cards can actually help companies better manage their spending and improve bottom-line results. New technology is available to enhance controls on purchases made by employees with purchasing cards, such as monthly and per-transaction limits, as well as merchant spend categories that only permit use of the card with certain merchants.
What additional steps can you take to protect your company from fraud-related online banking?
- Work with information technology (IT) experts to ensure security measures are in place, such as anti-virus and anti-spyware software and up-to-date software patches.
- Take advantage of bank security tools to protect your business. For example, Positive Pay allows businesses to send a list to their bank of all checks issued, so the bank can match the check numbers, dollar amount and account numbers of all in-bound checks against the list. Any checks that do not match are flagged for review. Positive Payee adds a layer of security by including the payee name on the list provided to the bank.
- Avoid writing down passwords or storing them in computer files. Enforce standards that require employees to periodically change passwords and use a combination of numbers and letters.
- Don’t conduct business from a public or shared computer.
- Don’t click on links in e-mails or enter credentials on the linked site.
- Educate employees on the risks posed by corporate identity theft and the steps they can take to protect financial and personal information.
This was prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as specific advice or recommendations. Any reliance upon this information is solely and exclusively at your own risk.
LYNN NETTLETON is senior vice president and group manager of online banking for PNC. Reach her at (412) 762-6018.
Born: Upper Darby
Education: Bachelor of science degree, electrical engineering, Penn State
First job: Electrical engineer for DuPont
Community service: Board of education chairman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia; United Way of Chester County board member
How would you describe your leadership style?
I think it’s very hands-on. I build strong organizations. I also believe that one of my strengths is that I have a technical background, I’m interested in the technical side of the business.
What are some universal truths you’ve learned about leading a business?
You need to lead from the top. You always need to be fair. You must have integrity, and you must work hard.
What are some important things to remember about running a family business?
You need to be very dedicated. This isn’t something you can just come in and do part-time. That’s not a challenge for us, because our family members are very dedicated, but it is a commitment that you are going to work very hard for the family business.
If you need to fly to Europe with one day’s notice, you just do it with no complaining. In a family business, there really is no room for the word ‘complain.’ You can’t really complain about anything.