Is there natural tension between getting along with your people and asking them to perform — between Relating and Requiring? No, says Pete Friedes, retired CEO of the international HR consulting powerhouse Hewitt Associates. He discussed his book “The 2R Manager” and how he helped hundreds of managers become better leaders, while growing a firm 23% per year for 23 years and earning multiple awards as a Best Place to Work.
From his first years as CEO, starting at age 28, Pete was confident he was leading the company in the right manner and in the right direction.
“I’ve always had a long term perspective,” said Friedes. “I always knew where one of the firm to go. So, I kept defining it for everyone, so we all had the same long-term goals. Whatever you encountered, it’s all on the road to this long term goal of being the best firm in the business.”
What does “best firm” mean, though?
“Financial was one of our three objectives. Another was to provide the best work for our clients. And the third was to have satisfying work experiences for our people. So our three objectives were all three equal. Finance took a lower priority than it would have in most environments.”
This three-way goal attracted the best people. In consulting, the quality of the people you can attract defined the quality of the work you can provide. So, caring a lot about the environment you created would enable you to recruit those top people. “You have to supervise a lot less when you have great people.”