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Alumnus Bob Paxton returns to Athens for Leadership Speaker Series

Tuesday, October 27 2015 12:00am

Apart from being a leader at one of Aon Hewitt’s top 25 companies for developing leaders, alumnus Bob Paxton is a former professional basketball player (who didn’t play basketball for Ohio University). Impressed yet?

Nearly 20 years to the day of his OHIO graduation, alumnus Bob Paxton returned to Athens. During that time, he distinguished himself as a leader in big-name companies such as BP and Whirlpool Corporation. Now vice president, human resources at Owens Corning, a company recently named one of Aon Hewitt’s top 25 companies for developing leaders, Paxton returned to share the “secret sauce” of becoming a great leader. Read about his top tips, below: 

  • Gain a solid understanding of business knowledge 

Grow your business acumen and learn to speak the language of business. “The College of Business creates a great foundation,” said Paxton. “Its professors, curriculum, global experiences, and residential experience are invaluable.” 

  • Practice the three R’s: Relevance, rigor and results

Relevance refers to whether you’re doing work that is important to the business and matters. “If you’re doing work that is insignificant, eliminate it,” said Paxton. 

Rigor refers to how you approach your work. Thoroughly think through your ideas, pay attention to details, work hard, and follow through on commitments. 

And results means, well, results. “Connect what you do to how it delivers financial performance; anything you do should demonstrate bottom line results,” explained Paxton. 

  • Be honest 

“Tell leaders what they need to hear, not what they want to hear,” said Paxton. “Operate with candor, and you’ll gain respect and influence.”

  • Act like a leader

“Make every decision like it’s your business, not like you’re working for someone else,” he said. “To be a leader; own the choices that you make.”