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BY KEVIN MOE

In his more than 35-year professional career, Robert Kueppers has seen a lot – and each new experience has brought new challenges and new learning opportunities. As the deputy CEO of Deloitte LLP, he works closely with the CEO and is responsible for regulatory and professional matters while also serving major clients of the firm in an advisory capacity. During his career, Kueppers was also the chief financial officer of a Securities Exchange Commision (SEC)–reporting manufacturing company in New York and a professional accounting fellow in the Office of the Chief Accountant at the SEC in Washington, D.C. In 2009, Kueppers was recognized by Directorship magazine as one of the top 100 influential professionals in corporate governance. He is also a member of the Carlson School’s Board of Overseers, a member of the Yale School of Management’s Board of Advisors for the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance, a trustee and past chairman of the SEC Historical Society in Washington, D.C., and a member of the boards of directors of the United Way of New York City and of American Corporate Partners, a nationwide mentoring organization for U.S. veterans.

He recently took time from his busy schedule to offer the five most valuable insights he has gleaned over the years, of which one stands high above all others.

1. Develop great people.
Great organizations develop leaders as a core activity. That means I focus on being a role model, mentor, and sponsor to those professionals I view as shining stars. I seek out opportunities for my team to shine, often by pushing them outside of their comfort zone.
2. Build concentric circles of contacts.
Over the years I have found relationships and networks of contacts to be a unique and valuable asset that grows over time. As I have moved forward in my career, I have made a concerted effort to both expand and maintain existing contacts. That investment pays dividends time and time again.Robert J. Kueppers Quote
3. Specialize as you progress.
If you want to succeed, particularly in a larger organization, the resources available to build a specialty are truly impressive. As you progress, special skills will translate into new and different opportunities. All you need is the courage to walk through the doors that open to you. Being the expert is tremendously rewarding both in the marketplace and within the organization.
4. Be passionate about what you do.
People who love what they do are those who tend to make a real difference. Ideally, if you see what you do as important and your personal beliefs line up with the broader mission and purpose of the organization, you will excel. I have had the privilege of being an auditor of public companies for 35 years. I see that as a high calling indeed and view it as helping maintain the integrity of the capital markets.
5. Integrity is everything.
Your personal and professional interactions, work product, commitments, and business dealings must be based on trust and honesty. Your word is your bond, and to truly earn a sense of pride and accomplishment in yourself, you must be true to your word. This No. 5 of the Five Things is the most important. If, for whatever reason, it is not there, ignore 1 through 4. They won’t work!

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