CEO of a Financial Services Company with $90 Billion in Assets

I hired Peter to help develop a new leadership team. At least, that was the plan. He started by interviewing me, getting a bit about my background and some of the challenges we were facing, and I said, “So, when can we get on to the rest of the people in the group?” Peter said, “Well, we’ve got enough to work on right here.”

So Peter hung with me for a while; I had some major challenges around company politics, which Peter helped me navigate. He was nothing short of brilliant. He has a very unusual ability to listen and capture important information in a way that I’d never experienced before.

He synthesizes things down to the pertinent information very, very quickly. And then somehow, he has a wealth of experience that guides him to practical directions towards what I would consider to be very difficult problems.

He’s been extraordinarily helpful to me in finding approaches and tactics that work. Peter calls me brilliant for executing them, but the brilliance really came from Peter’s insights in helping me think things through.

When I think about what makes Peter so effective, I keep coming back to his listening skills. They’re unusually sharp. The way that he listens and converts what he’s learned into strategy, tactic, and ways of thinking and ways of behaving, I’ve just never experienced anything like it before. His skills are so innate, you can’t train a bunch of people to do what Peter does.

As nice a guy as he is, he doesn’t sugarcoat anything. When he interviewed each member of the executive committee to give feedback to every other member of the executive committee, including me, the information was quite startling in its frankness, both on the good and negative sides.

There was no effort to sugarcoat it, which meant we were going to focus on it whether we liked it or not. Peter got us to see that confronting the truth was the real opportunity. He surprised most of the members of the executive committee with his level of frankness.

My team was made up of incredibly talented people, but most of them had issues that were getting in the way of their effectiveness. One was rubbing people the wrong way by clumsy communications. Another wasn’t being clear with direct reports and wasn’t managing people effectively. A third needed to be more proactive; he wasn’t having hard conversations that needed to happen.

Nothing that mattered was sacred. Peter even got into personal hygiene; we had one guy who was brilliant but sloppy, and several people commented on his sloppiness, so Peter coached him on his appearance.

I had brought over an outstanding salesperson – one of the best I’ve ever seen – and gave him management responsibility without realizing that he was a poor manager. So Peter coached him to look at the character traits that were stopping him from being effective in his new role.

These are things that feel awful, that people don’t want to take a look at. But Peter has a way of helping people see that these are real opportunities.

Most members of the executive committee realized that when they worked with Peter, they learned things about themselves that they wouldn’t have learned anywhere else. Never in a threatening way, but always in a clear way. He provides a genuine, unusual opportunity to make improvements that they might otherwise not have had a chance to do.

One of the most inspiring things about working with Peter is watching his introspection about himself. It’s pretty inspirational; he seems to be a guy who’s constantly working towards a process of continuous improvement in himself. He doesn’t sell or promote that at all, but you do somehow get to absorb that when you work with him over an extended period of time.

Watching Peter, his lifestyle, just his own character, inspires you to want to be better yourself. It makes you want to work with him. I just think he’s really solid.

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