December 1, 2012

Cover Story

Rocky Recovery

Naughty boys and girls in Utah may not find lumps of coal in their stockin...Read More

Featured Articles

Joel Peterson: The Secret to Great Leadership

Jeanette Haren: A Passion for Education

Sections

Players
Players

Around Utah
Around Utah

Legal Briefs
Profits Interest

Money Talk
An Alarming Trend

Economic Insight
A Time of Giving

Lessons Learned
The Right Consistency

TechKnowledge
Smart Strategy

EntrepreneurEdge
Don’t Peeve the VC

Business Trends
On the Map

Executive Living
Off the Beaten Slope

Editor's Note
Is Your Company Headed Toward an Employee Shakeup?

Features
From the Get-Go

Features
Best Companies to Work For

Reader's Choice
The Goods at Sweet Cake Bake Shop

Focus
Innovative and Invisible

Industry Outlook
Healthcare

Article

Joel Peterson: The Secret to Great Leadership

Amy K. Stewart

December 1, 2012


Joel Peterson sits relaxed and unassuming in the Peterson Partners office, which has a vast southeastern view of the Wasatch Mountains. For today’s interview, he has donned a red tie dotted with tiny blue airplanes and clouds.

Besides being chairman of JetBlue Airways, Peterson is founder of Utah-based venture capital firm Peterson Partners. He also teaches Entrepreneurial Management at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB), was director of the Stanford GSB Center for Leadership Development and Research, and serves as a director of Franklin Covey as well as Ladder Capital.

When asked what the secret of his success is, Peterson laughs and says he’s not successful at everything, but simply at what he feels is important to him. He is a father, a teacher and a leader in a number of business ventures.

If he could change anything about his life, Peterson says he would change course sooner on a variety of things—not sticking with something for so long when it isn’t working. “You hear people talk about how they waited too long to do something,” he says. “If I could do it all over again, I would trust my instincts more. Your heart knows things that your head has not yet discovered.”

Hobbies? Peterson says he works for fun. “Family and work, I will not compromise.” And that is why Peterson doesn’t golf. He does read a lot, however, especially on planes. The last book he read is Unbroken, the biography of World War II hero Louis Zamperini.

When it comes to what makes a great leader, Peterson says it’s “understanding leadership isn’t about me.” It’s about the mission, and about achieving something—a goal that people wouldn’t achieve on their own. “The job of the leader is to bring the right people on board, give them the tools they need to empower them, to celebrate their success and to thank them,” he says.

In his leadership class at Stanford, Peterson gives examples of leaders who are successful in leading through different ways, in every walk of life. For example, Father Greg Boyle, who organized the Homeboy Industries youth program in Los Angeles, uses vastly different leadership methods than John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, Inc. Peterson advises young leaders to seek mentorship from seasoned executives.

Utah Business Social
UB Events View All
Health Care HeroesUtah Business Event
Oct 21, 2014
Please join us, along with our sponsors, MountainStar Healthcare, and Roseman University in honor...
Content Marketing BootcampUtah Business Event
Oct 28, 2014
Please join Utah Business Magazine and Adobe, along with our other sponsors: Boostability, Right ...
Sustainable Business Awards 2014Utah Business Event
Nov 13, 2014
Utah Business magazine along with presenting sponsor Big D Construction, is pleased to announce t...
Community Events View All
St. George Book Festival - Authorpalooza Festival Kick-Off
Oct 20, 2014
St. George Book Festival - Authorpalooza Festival Kick-Off
St. George Book Festival - Learn, Discover and Journey through the World of Books!
Oct 20, 2014
October 20-25, 2014 Welcome to the St. George Book Festival. This annual FREE festival is the ...

info@utahbusiness.com  |  90 South 400 West, Ste 650 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101   |  (801) 568-0114

Advertise with Utah Business

Submit an Event

* indicates required information
* Event Name:
Price (general):
Website (if applicable):
Coordinator's Name:
Coordinator's Email:
Coordinator's Phone:
Venue Name:
Venue Address:
Venue City:
Venue Zip:
Event Capacity:
Date(s):
to
* Event Description:
  Cancel