Prudential’s CEO John Strangfeld has rise to a top executive position with the company and it’s been a long, hard struggle. Perhaps more so for him than for some others. He’s a very unique individual, highly capable and well suited for the job. He also stands out from the crowd and has some personality traits that are not commonly found in a man that is in his current position. We discovered 10 highly interesting facts about him that we thought you’d like to know about.
1. He had a fear of public speaking
There are some people who would find this hard to believe, but it’s the truth. He’s been open about the issue and has seen fit to speak about it on occasion. It’s a very good thing that he share’s this often debilitating fear because he stands as living proof that it doesn’t have to stop you from reaching the top if you’re determined. He overcame the problem and now sits as a powerful executive who gets the job done, and done well.
2. He starts his day at 4:30 am
This is an early time of the morning to start a day, especially if you’re a busy executive, but he has a very good reason for doing this. He begins with a physical workout. John either works out with a personal trainer or he does yoga exercises with his daughter. This is an impressive commitment that Mr. Strangfeld has made to maintain excellent health.
3. He believes that there is a mind/body connection
Strangfeld is serious about his commitment to health and fitness. He works out because of his belief that physical fitness and mental sharpness are “interconnected.” He is adamant about the fact that consistent workouts make him more effective on the job and this is why he regularly rises at 4:30 to make sure that he gets in his daily dose of exercise in one form or another.
4. He pulled off a self help miracle in college
John Strangfeld attended Susquehanna University in Central Pennsylvania. It is a liberal arts school and he liked it very much, but when he saw that his final grades for the first semester amounted to a 2.3 grade point average, he knew that he needed to figure out the problem and apply a fix. He was a serious student but he simply didn’t know how to get certain things accomplished. The problem was in part due to his lack of self confidence. He made a new plan and stuck to it. John made a private deal with himself to give it everything he had, outline each reading, study more and then analyze the effectiveness of the methods with the end results. His strategy was brilliant and accomplished precisely what he was after when he pulled a 4.0 the next term.
5. He forced himself to face his greatest fears
John’s fear of public speaking had held him back in the past and he knew it could quash success in the future. He had the option of pursuing a career that would not require this activity and he had to make a decision about which path he would take. Would he let his fears dictate his level of success? John faced them head on although he had no self confidence. He’s a strong man who is able to admit weaknesses and fears, then face them with the fury of a lion, regardless of what he feels inside.
6. He values character and attitude over technical skills
When John Strangfeld is looking for quality in employees, he has very specific things in mind. While technical skills are good, there is much more that goes into the creation of an employee that can create the energy needed and make a difference in the company. He is looking at the character and attitude of the person as much, if not more than their technical skills. He likes to surround himself with these types of people.
7. John Strangfeld serves on multiple boards
John has overcome a lot to get where he is today. he not only earned his MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, he also sits on several different boards. He’s been on the Board of Trustees for the Darden School Foundation for 12 years and on the Board of Trustees for Susquehanna University. It’s obvious that he’s overcome the fear of speaking.
8. He donates generously to worthy causes
Mr Strangfeld believes in higher education and he also has a heart for military officers who are attempting to make the change back to civilian life. In an effort to provide them with assistance in this endeavor, he sponsors an MBA scholarship program at Darden for the specific aim of assisting these military officers who are seeking leadership roles in the private sector.
9. John Strangfeld roots for the underdog
He has made no bones about it…he takes great pleasure in seeing people turn a corner and accomplish more than they ever thought that they possibly could. John also believes in reciprocity and that when a person moves beyond obstacles to become successful, they should make an effort to help pass this along to someone else who may be struggling to find their way. When he gets to see this happen, he sees it as a personal success as a leader.
10. An instructor criticized his big effort to come out of his shell
When John gave his first college presentation, he was sleep deprived and shook like a leaf in the wind. He was a nervous wreck, but he still got up and gave it. He revealed that he felt relieved that he didn’t pass out. He went on to say that his instructor approached him and commented, “Mr. Strangfeld…t hat was ghastly.” It didn’t stop him from pushing forward and look where John Strangfeld is today!