Born: Elgin, Ill.
Education: Bachelor of arts, DePauw University; master’s of business administration, Washington University, St. Louis
What is the greatest business challenge you have faced?
It’s an ongoing challenge. Finding the right people to share the work with and to share the profits. Finding the right people is the only limitation to the growth of any organization. Admit your mistakes. When you find someone who isn’t a good fit or can’t do what’s being asked, address that. That’s tough to be sure. But address it as quickly as you can and as professionally as you can.
What is the best business lesson you’ve ever learned?
Listen to your customers. They will tell you everything you need to know.
Whom do you admire most in business and why?
We worked for years with Peter Drucker. He referred to himself as an adjunct member of top management. How valuable it was for not only that individual but for the person they are responsible to, to have a clear understanding and agreement. What are their primary responsibilities and what are the outcomes of their work? The measures of their performance. How do you continue to help that person to grow and to make an even bigger contribution? He was all about respect for the individual. An awful lot of what I’ve talked about today in terms of our values and culture, it was a part of Edward Jones, but we have so crystallized and we understand it better because of the mentoring and coaching we received from working with Peter Drucker. I believe he has had a bigger impact on our firm than anyone else. And if you read his books today, they are absolutely as good as they were 30 and 40 and 50 years ago when they were written.