J. Paul Getty Leadership Traits

J. Paul Getty Leadership Traits

J. Paul Getty (12/15/1882 – 06/06/1976) was the founder of the Getty Oil Company. In 1957, Fortune magazine named him the richest living American. In 1966, the Guinness Book of Records named him the world’s richest private citizen. When Getty died in 1976, he was worth $2 billion ($8.4 billion in 2016). While there is no sure-fire formula for achieving success, in his book, How to Be Rich, Getty outlined the fundamental rules of business to tip the odds in an entrepreneur’s or executives’ favor. Getty’s fundamental rules of business are:

Fundamental Rules of Business

  • Always stand behind your work (honor guarantees) to build customer confidence and volume.
  • Be willing to spend (risk) money, but only after carefully calculated consideration.
  • Build your own business in a field you know and understand to maximize wealth creation.
  • Increase profits with more products and services at lower costs while maintaining high standards of quality.
  • Make better products and services to increase production and sales; competition exists to be met and bested.
  • Measured expansion, including domestic and international, is key to business growth.
  • Practice economy (frugality and thrift) whenever and wherever possible.
  • Run your business; while you can delegate authority, you cannot delegate responsibility and accountability.
  • Seek new horizons and un-tapped and under-exploited markets; sell energetically and imaginatively.
  • Treat wealth accumulation as a means for improving the living standards and wages of all.

In How to Be Rich, Getty also outlined the characteristics of what makes a good executive. The characteristics are:

What Makes A Good Executive?

  • Communicates clearly and quickly about what needs to be done and by whom (time is money).
  • Conscientiously and loyally carries out orders, but not blindly (gives careful consideration to consequences).
  • Demonstrates loyalty to the company and its employees and shareholders, not to specific individuals.
  • Displays a positive attitude toward subordinates (empowers and trusts people).
  • Displays a positive, but responsible and thoughtful attitude toward superiors (“is not a bootlicker”).
  • Leads (directs) people to effectively and efficiently achieve business goals.
  • Possesses strong understanding of business fundamentals and general management versus specialization.
  • Shows enthusiasm and interest for both the company and industry, not just their department.
  • Solicits counsel and feedback from others; makes decisions; gives orders; assumes responsibility for results.
  • Thinks and acts independently without constant advice or approval from their superiors.

All contents copyright © 2017, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.


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