This is second of my June posts on Apex Leaders, leaders who are the very best in the world at what they do.  Yesterday we profiled pro surfer Nic Lamb in the post 12 Tips On How The Most Successful Leaders Deal With Failure.  Today we will look at one of the world’s top businessmen and wealthiest leaders, Roger Penske.

As described in Wikipedia, Penske is the owner of the auto racing team Team Penske, the Penske Corporation, along with many other automotive-related businesses.  He is one of the corporate directors at General Electric and was chairman of Super Bowl XL in Detroit, Michigan.  Penske was previously on the board of The Home Depot and Delphi Automotive before resigning to chair the Detroit Super Bowl Committee. He has an estimated net worth of $1.95 billion as of September 2015.

In the May 26th edition of USA Today, writer Brant James profiled the 79-year-old owner of 16 winning teams at the Indianapolis 500.  The following are 15 Practices Of Highly Successful Financial Leaders I gleaned from the articles:

  1. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Were Willing To Take Great Risks – Penske recalls, “We drove to Pittsburgh and he (his retired father) took $75,000 out of his savings account (to buy his first Chevy dealership).  We were driving back across the bridge from the bank in Pittsburgh, and he said, ‘Look, if you lose this, I’ll go back to work.’  So that was enough for me to make a decision, and I would never look back.”
  2. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Always Bring High Energy To The Organization – Energy is one of a leader’s greatest assets. Team Penske President Tim Cindric said, “You know when you’re going to spend a day or two with RP that by the time he leaves, as happy as you are to see him, you’re almost relieved.  You’re not happy to see him go, but you’re relived when he goes to the next project because he’s got more energy and certainly more initiative.  And when he talks about effort equals results, he puts it in himself.”
  3. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Place A High Value On And Take Great Care Of Their Investments – Penske refers to his race cars as “jewels”.
  4. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Can’t Do It Alone.  They Need A Great Team Around Them – When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum created an exhibit in his honor, Penske printed 53,000 copies of the museum’s pamphlet along with a letter from him to give to each of the company’s employees.  He said, “Everybody in the company gets one to see what we do as a team.”
  5. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Notice Every Detail Within Their Organization(s) – They take great pride in their work and no detail is too small.  Penske says, ” I’m a detail guy.”  James adds, “He notices seemingly everything, such as when partners aren’t using a brand of paint or part from one of his business partners.”
  6. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Effectively Leverage Every Asset They Have – Penske refers to his two private jets as “tools of capitalism.”
  7. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Know The Value Of Their Time And Steward It Well – Time cannot be replaced.  When it is gone, it is gone forever.  Because of its value, financial leaders cannot waste time.  When flying, Penske has disciplined himself to deal with the most important emails before takeoff.  Also, Twitter is not something he participates in.
  8. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Are Very Frugal In Certain Areas Of Their Life – Some things are just not as important as others to financial leaders.  Though his companies are worth $26 billion per Forbes, Penske says, “Looks like I can’t afford a pair of shoes.”  His wardrobe is professional but never over-the-top.
  9. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Work Incredibly Hard – Jalen Rose says, “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”  Penske averages over 620,000 air miles annually.  Race car driver Juan Pablo Montoya says, “How hard he works, I mean, I’m complaining because I’m on a red-eye.  He does that three times a week.”
  10. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Delegate Large Amounts Of Responsibility – Penske hires top people to run his companies and trusts them to do a great job.
  11. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Position Others For Success – Penske provides those who run his companies all the tools needed for success.
  12. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Have Extraordinarily High Expectations – Penske says, “We’re here to win; we’re supposed to win based on what team we have.  It’s probably harder for me to disconnect when we’ve had a poor weekend than it is when we’ve had a good weekend, because I have high expectations.”
  13. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Focus On Results – Penske says, “I want our organization, whether it’s a dealership, whether it’s a car, to be the best that people see.  You’re as good as you look to a certain extent, but you have to have something behind that, a foundation.
  14. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Never Stop Growing, Never Stop Learning, And Never Stop Improving – Driver Brad Keselowski says Penske has an insatiable “pursuit of growth.”  He adds, “Roger’s ability to grow intellectually, personally, and his desire to do so has not leveled off over time, and I think that makes him an exceptional person by today’s standards.”
  15. Highly Successful Financial Leaders Are Often Memorable – Penske concludes, “I guess it’s been a long, circuitous journey but one I’ll certainly never forget.”

What is one thing you learned from this post about highly successful financial leaders?

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