portrait of Craig Schmidt

5 Things I've Learned : Craig Schmidt

Monday, April 8, 2019

Craig Schmidt, ’03 BSB, knows accounting. As a CPA, he works as the governance and oversight leader at Wells Fargo's internal control program over financial, regulatory, and risk reporting. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Schmidt worked within the external audit practice at Deloitte for 11 years.

1. Practice Extreme Ownership

Extreme Ownership is one of my favorite books, and it’s the book I have gifted most to my friends. It’s written by two Navy SEALs, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. The basic premise is that to be a great leader, you must own both the successes and failures of your team.

2. Recruit, Promote, Repeat!

Thinking outside the box and recruiting through informed decisions—beyond surface-level interviews—is critical to success. To recruit top talent, you must share the exciting story about why the position is open and why you plan to recruit for that position again in the next two or three years.

3. Train Your Lion Mind

In my favorite meditation exercise on the Breathe app, a dog chases a bone thrown by a man while, at the same time, a lion is focused on the man. The metaphor is meant to teach your mind to not follow distractions. The “Lion Mind” has become a mantra I live by at work and bestow upon my team. It’s simple: Spend your time and focus on the most important things.

4. 5P’s: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

I often see plans that are fatally flawed because they do not take into account the dependencies and risks that could arise during execution. A plan must handle these things, so the project can be done on time and aligned with expectations. I also love “plan beats no plan,” a concept shared by Timothy Geithner in his book S tress T est.

5. Attitude Is Everything

Life is short and negativity is a drain. I don’t personally have the secret sauce for maintaining a positive attitude, but I’ve been told by my team I have a habit of smiling and laughing (often obnoxiously) throughout the day. Finding humor in even the most ridiculous of times keeps me level. Positive “can do” attitudes are worth every penny and I’m on the hunt to recruit more of them!

This article appeared in the Spring 2019 alumni magazine

The Twin Cities is a corporate headquarters powerhouse. In this issue, we explore why that's the case.

Spring 2019 table of contents