|Dan Hesse: A CEO Worth Emulating
By: Melody Weister
As someone who grew up watching a parent run a business, I’ve always paid attention to CEOs who rise to the forefront of media attention. Many of them, like the revolving door of those unfortunate souls in charge of RIM, incur nothing but a growing disappointment in heads of major corporations and a concern for the future of our country. However, Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint, long ago earned a place in my heart. Although Sprint may not be the chief carrier in the nation, his manner of running a business is an inspiration to any current or aspiring entrepreneurs.
While other major cell-phone carriers remain faceless corporations, whose customers continually have nothing but ill to speak of them, Sprint has featured Dan Hesse in its commercials for years, a move that gives consumers a name and a face to associate with their cellular provider. This decision alone stands head and shoulders above the choices of other major carriers, who hide in the shadow of their brand and never emerge to address or appreciate their customer base. Hesse has even, at times, invited customers with complaints about their cellular service to email him directly. Prior to that, when it became apparent that Sprint customers were increasingly dissatisfied, Hesse took steps to ensure that Sprint rose from having one of the worst customer service departments in America with whom to deal to having the absolute best. Coming from a very technology-proficient family, and being a person who can occasionally be hard on mobile devices, I have personally been a thorn in Sprint’s customer service department at times, but have always had my issues resolved quickly and in the best way possible for all parties. If more CEOs truly took the time to listen, sincerely, to customer complaints, it would surely do wonders for the economy.
On top of that, recent news indicates that Hesse is taking a $3.25 million cut to his own pay, rather than docking the pay of his workers or skimping on services for customers, to compensate some investors who expressed contempt for Sprint’s iPhone deal. This type of move is rarely seen in American corporations, where businesses go under and senior executives escape with billion-dollar golden parachutes. Again I am reminded of my own childhood experiences, where I saw my mother, a CEO herself for many years, take pay cuts at times when she might have otherwise needed to cut the salaries of her employees. This level of compassion mixed with business sense ought to serve as a true inspiration for all of us.
Though many other carriers and their consumers might sling mud at Sprint’s business decisions and market share, those childish actions can’t detract from Dan Hesse’s beautiful leadership example. Whether you’re a subscriber of Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or any other wireless carrier, there’s still plenty for all of us to appreciate and learn from Hesse’s behavior. We’d all love to see the CEO of Verizon or AT&T starring in their own companies’ commercials and inviting the American public to contact them directly with service issues — but perhaps they’re afraid of the responses they’d get. It’s rare we have a chance to associate a face and a name with a corporation so large; it’s fortunate for any who wish to lead their own companies someday that Hesse is one of those select few.
Melody Weister is a technology aficionado, unashamed smartphone geek, and casual gamer from Montclair, NJ, where she works as a Social Media Coordinator. Follow her on Twitter: @msmelodyrose.
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