Famed management consultant Peter Drucker once said that the three chief executives he admired most were General Electric’s Jack Welch, Intel’s Andy Grove, and Mort Mandel. Mort who? In 1940, Mandel and his two brothers bought their uncle’s auto supply business in Cleveland for $900—and 56 years later, they sold the company, which had morphed into Premier Industrial Corp., for $2.8 billion. I met the nonagenarian entrepreneur recently to chat about the advice he touts in his book, It’s All About Who You Hire, How They Lead. After a survey of National Federation of Independent Business members released this week showed small business owners were putting the brakes on hiring plans, Mandel’s rosier view of staffing up might prove encouraging. Edited excerpts follow.
Tell me about your hiring philosophy.