Mentor and Long-time Boss, Charles Schwab tops $2 trillion in client assets

My half-hour meeting turned into 90 thrilling minutes yesterday atop Schwab HQ, overlooking spectacular San Francisco as the fog settled on the Bay Bridge and Silicon Valley. I met privately with my mentor and former boss Charles ‘Chuck’ Schwab in his office to hear mind-blowing news. How did Schwab attract $2 Trillion in customer assets despite the crash, competition and rapid change?

Schwab has become among the most admired brands in history—despite an industry where the public’s trust has been deeply shaken. His company didn’t get seduced by the greed and leverage that led to the financial disaster, so he’s widely respected by customers and investors. “Success takes as much humility as it does audacity,” Chuck said. “You have to be willing to listen and grow with your customer—that’s the humble part. At the same time, you have to be bold—with the audacity to know you can do it better than bigger competitors.”

You become Great by Choice, not by circumstance or chance. What are the traits of the best performers who earn admiration in a chaotic marketplace?

1) You Have Fanatic Discipline. Steadfast and Consistent&mndah;driving forward at what you can do that is world class and “the discipline to be clear about what NOT to do!” You must be focused with your goals like a hedgehog, as Jim Collins says, rather than a fox that is frightened by change or easily seduced by distractions.

2) You Drive Change, Don’t Follow It. You know your customers better than your competitors, so you are always finding ways to make them more successful and therefore earn their trust and loyalty.

3) You have Productive Paranoia. You’re never satisfied with your level of service—never complacent about your success vs. competitors.

In his new keynote, Mark shares insights from his face to face work with Chuck Schwab, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and other Level 5 leaders, along with his national research conducted at Stanford and his favorite former Stanford professor, Jim Collins, on how Fortune’s Most Admired Companies go from Good to Great.

Mark was Chief Investor Relations Officer during two of history’s greatest crashes, and later served as Chuck Schwab’s Chief Customer Experience Officer and then as Executive Producer of with over 10 million customers. Mark has been an investment partner with the Schwab family in innovative growth companies that have become Great by Choice.

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