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Advice from
John N. Roberts, III

John Roberts IIIJohn Roberts, CEO for J. B. Hunt Transport Services, met frequently with my leadership class. I cited him often and quoted him extensively in Why It Matters: Reflections on Practical Leadership. In addition to quotes found in the book, J. R. provided students with the following advice:

  • “Leadership is all about creating a following to change things and inspire people.”
  • “Failure of a company falls entirely on its leadership.”
  • “There is no substitute for doing the right thing and telling the truth. You’ll never come up short.”
  • “Don’t ever let something that has made you successful lose its place in your playbook.”
  • “Surround yourself with smart people.”
  • “We can’t ever allow ourselves to get comfortable.”
  • “When you succeed, we succeed.”
  • “A little bit of patience goes a long way.”
  • “Accountability and inspiration are essential attributes of a leader.”
  • “Big is not as important as good.”
  • “Don’t create fear. Create confidence.”
  • “Don’t send E-mail or text messages when you’re angry.”
  • “Use the following guideline: would I say something about someone if he or she were to walk into the room.”
  • “Don’t ignore the elephant in the room.”
  • “Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Dig into the details of problems and work hard to solve them.”
  • “Let decisions marinate.”
  • “Wait as long as you can before making a decision.”
  • “People don’t work for me, they work for the company.”
  • “Listening to people, getting their input, letting them shape the direction gives them ownership.”
  • “You have to earn respect.”
  • “Dare to dream big.”
  • “You might have life figured out, but it might not have figured out you.”
  • “There’s a need for good leadership and good management.”
  • “When you have to tell your team you are its leader, you aren’t.”
  • “Leaders aren’t appointed. You attain the role of leader by earning it.”
  • “Learn how to fail quickly and re-set.”
  • “Micromanaging only occurs on bad teams.”
  • “Help your people get better; help them succeed; they’ll take that and apply it exponentially.”
  • “Collaboration is fine, but there comes a time for leadership and putting your foot down.”
  • “Put weights on each element of your life.”
  • “Celebrate successes.”

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