How do you measure success in a bad economy? Humana and Cincy Magazine teamed up to quiz some of Greater Cincinnati’s top business leaders. We asked:

How has the definition of success changed?
How do successful business contribute to our community?
What common principles are found in success?
What is the biggest threat to success in 2010?
What can our region do to attract and keep successful businesses?

“I feel successful business leaders focus on the Triple Bottom Line of profits, people and planet, a concept from the Center for Creative Leadership. Planet isn’t just about being green; it’s about contributing to your community through philanthropy, volunteering and making a difference.”

“Guiding principles for successful businesses are transparency, open and frequent communication, collaboration, swift and sure execution,
ownership thinking, an engaged workforce, and a cascading and alignment of corporate goals throughout the

Tillie Hidalgo Lima
Best Upon Request
Corporate, Inc.


“Before, we defined business success as its percent of growth — bigger meant better. Now, we define business success as its resilience and ability to regroup when unforeseen change happens.”

“We should have our school systems produce literate and motivated graduates for employment; keep our city neat and clean of litter and trash on the streets and highways; keep our city safe, attracting others to frequent our businesses, arts and other attractions. Also, we need to develop incentives to retain our young professionals for employment.”

Donna Wirth
Business Managing Partner
GOP Limited

“The old standard of increasing revenues and profits has given way to the concept of ‘treading water.’ We keep hearing ‘Ten percent down is the new up,’ and there is a lot of truth to that joke. Success is often measured by stability rather than growth over the past year.”

“I see the unwillingness of many businesses to re-hire as the biggest economic threat in 2010. The region will not see sustained, across the board, economic growth until business owners have the confidence to increase payroll and invest back into the personnel side of the business.”

John Moster, CPA
Shareholder in Charge, Cincinnati Office
Clark, Schaefer, Hackett & Co.

“We still look at the same criteria for judging success, but the yardstick we use to measure that success has changed. Some companies have redefined how much of a profit is successful, but we all still look at things like customer satisfaction, employee engagement and innovation to measure success.”

“Successful businesses always put their customers first, meet customers’ needs, and try to anticipate those needs. They also strive for continuous innovation, improvement and efficiency. You have to listen to your employees; some of the best ideas come from folks who are actually out there doing the work. It all comes down to communication.”

Tim Cappel
Humana of Ohio