“Leaders must do the right thing even if it’s hard, really for the sake of others. They just must.”
Former turn-around CEO of Prologis, Walt Rakowich joins Tricia Halsey for the Season 1 Finale of the Generous Leadership® Podcast. Walt’s life is an example of the power of priorities. Yes, he turned around a failing publicly-traded company to grow into a global leader with over $50 billion in assets AND his priority was and will always be to change the lives of the people he leads for the better.
Walt Rakowich is the former CEO of Prologis a NYSE company and a member of the S&P 500. Prologis is a leading provider of distribution facilities and services with over $50 billion in assets and operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. As CEO of Prologis from November 2008 through June 2011, Walt turned around the worst performing company in the S&P to, three years later, one of the most successful companies in the real estate and distribution industry globally.
Prior to becoming CEO, Walt Rakowich was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Prologis from January 2005 through November 2008. He joined Prologis in 1994. Prior to joining Prologis, Walt spent nine years as a partner and principal with real estate provider Trammell Crow Company in Los Angeles. Before that, he was a senior audit and tax consultant for Price Waterhouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Walt loves to give back to his community and currently sits on three boards for non-profits who focus on educating at-risk children in the inner city. He has made several appearances on CNBC, CNN, Fox, Bloomberg and National Public Radio and has been quoted in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Institutional Investor and Forbes magazine, on behalf of the real estate industry and Prologis.
- Walt tells his upbringing from humble beginnings to becoming the CEO of Prologis, a company that had $50 billion in assets when he left.
- Walt worked with a leader who had narcissistic tendencies. He describes the tendencies this sort of leader has and the repercussions for a company culture.
- How Walt turned-around the third worst performing company in the S&P 500 in just four years to a company with $60 billion assets when he left.
- Walt’s 3 H Core: Humble, Honest and Human
- Is there any hope for the curmudgeons—the people who don’t change and are difficult to work with—to ultimately change for the good? Walt calls these people “cultural vipers” and tells about the transformation of one executive who changed from a bully to the most beloved leader. It is never too late to help someone change.
- The two biggest blockers to transformational influence: pride and fear and how to defeat them.
References and Resources
- Transfluence: How to Lead with Transformative Influence in Today’s Climates of Change by Walt Rokowich. Available where all books are sold.
- Walt mentions that he is Chair of the Board for Colorado Uplift
- HBR article, “What CEO’s Are Afraid Of”
- “Appreciate people for who they were, not what they have.”
- “Great leaders are those who inspire others to do great things.”
- “A leader creates trust through transparency.”
- “Transparency is a window into someone’s soul.”
- “It is never too late to influence somebody, to change someone’s life.”
- “It’s the leader’s job to see their potential…to cast the vision.”
- “Leadership starts with the simple premise that it’s not about you.”
- “If you call fear’s name out, it loses its power.”