Hill International President and CEO David L. Richter was featured on the cover of the July 2015 issue of Entrepreneur Middle East. (The full interview with Richter can be read by clicking here.) As a leader who has proved his mettle time and again at Hill International, here are a few tips that Richter offered for those of you who are leading your own enterprises:
1. LEADERS ACTIVELY SEEK INFO “I got asked recently about being an engineer and a lawyer. I was asked which was better in terms of being a CEO. The presumption was that engineering must be better than law, and I said it was exactly the opposite in my experience. In engineering school, they teach you to find the correct answer; in law school, they teach you to find the correct question- and that’s much more what being a leader is about: asking the correct questions of your people. We have lots of people that are very smart, they can find the right answer in a heartbeat. My job is to ask the right questions to make sure we’re heading in the right direction.”
2. LEADERS SOURCE GREATNESS “I look for people that don’t have to be led. One of my mantras at the company is finding the right people, giving them the resources they need to succeed, and basically just getting out of their way. We’re looking for people who are self-starters, people that can sell, do, manage all at the same time. People who don’t require active oversight by me, because I don’t want to be a manager, I do really want to be a leader.”
3. LEADERS ARE ACCESSIBLE “We have about 5,000 people in our company. Any one of those people can pick up the phone and call me, and if they need my help with something I’m there to provide it. Most of those people think that time to call the CEO is never.”
4. LEADERS DON'T ALLOW PROCEDURES TO INTERFERE WITH INNOVATION “We try very hard not to create hierarchies, not to create chains of command, because those are ways to stop problems from getting solved. One of my biggest goals in being a leader within Hill, is that as we grow, we maintain that small business family-feel to the company with very little bureaucracy. At the same time, when we become bigger and bigger, we have to have some bureaucracy in place just to make sure that things are happening correctly- it’s walking a fine line. If you can create a balance, the results are fantastic for the organization.”
5. LOCALIZATION DOESN'T IMPACT LEADERSHIP “I don’t think management style really changes whether it’s the U.S., the Middle East, Australia or Brazil. Business is really the same: it’s about doing high quality work for your clients, adding value to the supply chain, building relationships is important everywhere. People are people; different places in the world operate according to different customs, different practices, sometimes even different morals. I don’t think leadership changes. The tone that we set at the top and that the rules that govern how we do business -not just as a public company but long before that- integrity is one of our core values.”
Read the full interview with David Richter by clicking here.