As the right-hand man to Charles Schwab, David Pottruck helped transition the Schwab brokerage firm from its brick-and-mortar focus into an Internet-trading model.
It wasn’t easy gaining brokers’ and investors’ confidence. But Pottruck had a step-by-step strategy, and this major change turned out to be a multibillion-dollar breakthrough.
“Oftentimes the need to change stares you in the face, but usually in that situation, you’re late.… You need to be able to look ahead, down the road,” says Pottruck, now the chairman at HighTower Advisors, a $25 billion wealth management firm he launched in 2008, and a senior fellow and adjunct faculty member at the Wharton School’s Center for Leadership and Change Management.
“There’s so much bold, breakthrough change that is needed—and happening—in the world,” Pottruck says. “But sadly it often happens, unsuccessfully. And the breakdowns are not because the ideas are bad, but because the implementation is flawed.”
In his new book, Stacking the Deck: How to Lead Breakthrough Change Against Any Odds, Pottruck writes that the first step is to confirm the need for an overhaul.
He offers these questions to help:
• Have I evaluated all the different scenarios?
• Do I truly believe in the purpose behind the change?
• Am I fully convinced of the urgency of the change itself?
• Can I demonstrate that this change is worthwhile and imperative?
• Do we really have to do it right now?
• What will occur if we postpone it?