Unfortunately, when Schwab CEO David Pottruck and leadership guru Terry Pearce sat down to write their book on “passion-driven growth in an Internet-driven world,” they only managed to squeeze in a few, superficial glimpses into Schwab's success.
But “Clicks and Mortar” is intended to offer advice on how to build a corporate culture. By that measure, they are successful. Pottruck illustrates how an executive must hold himself to a higher standard than the rank-and-file.
“Shortly after I became one of the top executives at Schwab, I began dating an employee,” he writes. Since there was no policy against dating, he was surprised when Chuck Schwab disapproved. “The rules for me as president of the company were different from the rules for other people.”
In hindsight, Pottruck says Schwab was right. And the story has a happy ending. Pottruck's subordinate, Emily, left the company and the two got married.
When the firm became overwhelmed with demand for financial advice, the company maintained its core value of offering objective information, Pottruck says. It refused to employ commissioned brokers and offered independent research. “We could have just blown the values … and offered what traditional firms were offering,” he writes.
“Clicks and Mortar,” published by Jossey-Bass (ISBN 0787952737), is $26 at bookstores and online.