Stacking the Deck

Dave Pottruck

Change is a constant, and leaders must do more than keep up–they must innovate and accelerate to succeed. Yet people are often unnerved by change. As a leader during a time of transformation, you may stand up before teams that are indifferent, or even hostile, and need to convince them that change is necessary and urgent. More than money, time, or resources, the ability to lead these people determines your ultimate success or failure. What does it take to be an effective change leader and increase the odds of success?

Stacking the Deck offers a proven, practical approach for inspiring meaningful, lasting change across an organization. Stacking the Deck presents a nine-step course of action leaders can follow from the first realization that change is needed through all the steps of implementation, including assembling the right team of close advisors and getting the word out to the wider group.

Based on Dave Pottruck’s experiences leading change as CEO of Charles Schwab and later as chairman of CorpU and HighTower Advisors, these steps provide a guide to ensure that your change initiative and your team have the best possible shot at success. In addition, established business leaders who have led extraordinary change initiatives demonstrate the steps in action. These executives include eBay CEO John Donahoe, Wells Fargo former CEO Dick Kovacevich, Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz, San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer, JetBlue CEO Dave Barger, Asurion CEO Steve Ellis, Pinkberry CEO Ron Graves, and Intel’s President Renee James, among others.

Leading an organization through major change–whether it’s the introduction of a new product, an expansion to a new territory, or a difficult downsizing–is not for the faint of heart. While success is never guaranteed, the right leadership, process, and team make all the difference. For all leaders facing major change in their organizations, Stacking the Deck is an indispensable resource for putting the odds in your favor.

About the Author

David S. Pottruck is the Chairman of HighTower Advisors, a $25 billion wealth management firm that he helped launch in 2008. He serves on the Board of Directors of Intel Corporation, where he is a member of the Executive Committee, Chairman of the Compensation Committee, and Chairman of the Retirement Plan Investment Committee. In addition, he is on the Board of Directors of several early-stage companies, including CorpU, a 21st-century corporate leadership development organization, where he is chairman. Dave was formerly a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and Chair of the San Francisco Committee on Jobs. Dave joined The Charles Schwab Corporation in 1984 as Executive Vice President of Marketing and led its innovative direct response advertising campaigns. Under his marketing leadership from 1984 to 1987, when the company went public, Schwab’s revenues tripled in size. He became Schwab’s President in 1992, co-CEO with Chuck Schwab in 1998, and CEO in 2002.

During this period, Dave and Chuck worked shoulder to shoulder, together focusing on leading the company, with little attention to their respective titles. Over Dave’s 20-year tenure at Schwab, the company’s assets in custody grew from $5 billion to over $1 trillion and the equity value of Schwab grew from roughly $50 million to approximately $16 billion. During Dave’s leadership, Schwab refocused its business model entirely on the Internet, a radically transformative move that drove the company’s explosive growth. Schwab also led a reinvention of the no-load mutual fund industry with the introduction of the no-fee “mutual fund supermarket” concept, and introduced the RIA servicing business; both innovations are now cornerstones of the discount brokerage industry.

Dave is the coauthor with Terry Pearce of Clicks and Mortar: Passion Driven Growth in an Internet Driven World. A top-ten best seller in BusinessWeek and on Amazon, Clicks and Mortar has been translated into six languages and was on the best seller list in Germany.

He is a Senior Fellow and adjunct faculty member at the Wharton School’s Center for Leadership and Change Management. In 2010 and again in 2012, he received Wharton San Francisco’s Outstanding Teaching Award for his course focused on leading breakthrough change. Dave has taught change leadership to hundreds of executives from around the world via programs tailored for specific corporations and in courses offered online through CorpU.

Dave has received accolades and recognition from numerous organizations and publications. He has been named one of the “Top 15 CEOs” by Worth; “CEO of the Year” by Information Week; “Executive of the Year” by the San Francisco Business Times; and “CEO of the Year” by Morningstar. He was named by Smart Money as one of the three most influential executives in the world of investing and by Institutional Investor as the number one most influential executive in the world of online finance.

In 1999 he was appointed by Congress and then-President Clinton to serve as one of 19 Commissioners on the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce, which was tasked with producing recommendations on electronic commerce and tax policy, arguably one of the most important policy initiatives of the Information Age.

Dave graduated with a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and earned his MBA with honors from Wharton. A native of New York, Dave now resides in San Francisco.