Joel Peterson is the Chairman of the Board at JetBlue Airways. He has served on more than three dozen boards over the past 45 years.  Joel is also the Founding Partner and Chairman of Peterson Partners, a Salt Lake City-based investment management firm with $1 billion under management. Peterson Partners has invested in over 200 companies through 13 funds in four primary asset classes: growth-oriented private equity, venture capital, real estate, and search funds.  Since 1992, Joel Peterson has taught courses in real estate, entrepreneurship, and leadership at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.  Prior to Stanford Business School and founding Peterson Partners, Joel was Chief Executive Officer of Trammell Crow Company, then the world’s largest private commercial real estate development firm.  Joel earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and received his Bachelors degree from Brigham Young University, where he was valedictorian and student body president.

He and his wife, Diana, have been married for over 45 years and have 7 children and 25 grandchildren.

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The Learning Leader Show

“You can’t do good business with bad people.”

Show Notes:

  • Sustaining excellence =
    • They are trusted, credible, and dependable — They “build a high trust organization”
    • It doesn’t happen naturally.  You must be intentional about it
  • Why is it so hard to build a trusting organization?
    • “People are weary.  Trust is critical.  You must do what you say you are going to do.”
  • “Trust is not being gullible.  Trust is a hard edged concept.”
  • It’s three parts:
    • Character
    • Competence
    • Authority
  • How to build a culture of trust?
    • Listen — Capture what your team is saying through 1 on 1 conversations.  Understand common values, goals, strategies
    • Reframe the dashboard — What does winning look like? Make sure it is clearly defined.  What’s the current level of trust in the organization?
  • How to run an effective meeting:
    • Have a purpose, the right people in the room, and follow up assignments.
    • Have pre-work.  It must be done.  Go through each individual member.  “Build trust by the process.”
  • How to run a town-hall:
    • Listen carefully, repeat it.  FOLLOW UP and take action.
  • How to handle broken trust?
    • Fix breaches immediately. “Bad news doesn’t get better with age.” — “Don’t let grass grown under your feet.”
  • “Trust decreases transaction costs.” — Everything is faster when there is trust.
  • “You can’t do good business with bad people.”
  • Interview process:
    • Understand the decision points
    • Determine roles/responsibilities as a team
    • Check references
    • The most important decisions you will make is who you hire and who you fire
  • There must be a vividly clear picture of what success is:
    • Break down the details: Who is the champion? Time frame? Budget? — Measure all of them to ensure all involved know what success is.
    • Do a post-mortem: What went well? What didn’t? Why?
  • Keep your team informed:
    • “Err on the side of over-communication.”
    • “Write a partner letter every two weeks.  Keep everyone updated.”
    • For JetBlue, there is a weekly meeting update — a “State of the Union” for the 24,000 employees
  • Create a learning organization — Foster an environment where there is a love for learning.
  • Strive for win-win negotiations
    • Each is part of a series — Think long term
    • You must be fair in order to do many deals
    • Art of the compromise — Don’t be zero sum.  You’ll build a reputation and nobody will want to work with you.
  • Embrace respectful conflict — Create an environment where people can open disagree.  This helps people refine their ideas and make them better.
  • Advice for husbands/dads:
    • Be there as a cheerleader, not a policeman
    • Be a listener, make sure you understand
    • “Love is the most powerful force in the world.”
  • Use the “Get To Know You Document
  • Why joining The Learning Leader Circle is a good idea

“Don’t be zero sum. Look for win-win negotiations.  Think long term and be someone others want to work with…”

More Resources:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode #300: AJ & Keith Hawk – How To Instill Work Ethic & Curiosity In Your Children

Episode #303:  General Stanley McChrystal – The New Definition Of Leadership