Billionaire investor and philanthropist Ken Langone on Monday detailed three core business principles he’s believed in during his career, suggesting they’ve been instrumental in building successful organizations.
“The three most powerful things in business: a kind word, a thoughtful gesture, and passion and enthusiasm for everything you’re doing,” Langone told CNBC’s Jim Cramer in an interview that aired on “Mad Money.”
Sitting outside with Cramer outside the New York Stock Exchange, Langone said he’s tried to institute that philosophy at both Home Depot, which he co-founded in the 1970s, and New York University’s medical center, where he’s been chairman of the board of trustees since 1999; the academic medical center was renamed after Langone in 2008.
Langone said he believes once trustworthy managers are in place at a company or organization, the next important thing is ensuring employees at all levels recognize “they matter” and feel empowered to make a difference.
“If you can really get everybody engaged in the mission; if you can get everybody to believe they can make a difference, not only that they can make a difference, but that they are the difference,” Langone said, recalling a story about a building services employee at NYU Langone who spent time just visiting with a heart transplant patient after in the days following the patient’s operation.
Langone said even after the patient was moved out of the intensive care unit, the employee went out of their way to visit with the patient.
“The man wrote me a letter, telling me that the care he got from the building service associate was as important to him as the surgeon who did the transplant,” Langone recalled.
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