Mattel is the world's largest toymaker, reaping hefty profits even during this lackluster economy. The third quarter brought a 23 percent profit to the company and the New York Times sat down with the company's president and chief executive, Robert A. Eckert, for an interview about what drives the company toward growth and what he looks for in hiring workers.
Eckert affirms in the interview that he was greatly influenced by the optimism his parents exuded, even during tough times in their lives. Once he graduated from school, Eckert started work at Kraft Foods and says that he went into the position with an open mind, never thinking that his education put him above his coworkers at the food giant. Eckert affirms that he constantly asked questions of the "old-timers" who worked there, meeting them for breakfast and learning "about the company and how it worked and how they worked."
According to Eckert, one of the most important facets of leaderships is placing trust in your workers. At Mattel, "trust is an important thing," he says, noting that "the way we run the company is, I have a lot of confidence in you, I have a lot of trust in you, we're transparent." Moreover, Eckert asserts that hiring an employee is an investment and that he looks to nurture his employees, devoting a lot of time to underperforming employees to "help you figure out how to better perform."
When interviewing a potential candidate, Eckert says that he is careful to ask questions that show what types of values a person has, like "how they grew up, and who's important in their life and how did they decide to do this and that." Ultimately, Eckert is looking for "fit, personality, values."
Eckert is "quite optimistic about our future," and says that the young generation currently entering the work force represents a "good marriage between what's good for the customer and what's good for the company, a kind of shared-values approach to corporate social responsibility.