155 – Don’t ignore the Dottie in your life

When it comes to leadership, little things make a big difference. Listen to hear what inspired Walt Bettinger’s, CEO at Charles Schwab, leadership style.

Cleaner sweeping

This week, it’s Mark’s turn to share a story! And he’s chosen a short but sweet one for us!

Mark and Shawn list a few business points you could make with this story, including:

  • Our formal education doesn’t cover everything;
  • Make an effort to remember people’s names; and
  • Little things make a big difference, especially in leadership.

Can you think of another that they don’t mention? Tell us what it is in the comments!

For your story bank

Tags: attention, caring, leadership, people skills, small thing big difference

This story starts at 01:07

Walt Bettinger is CEO at Charles Schwab and has been since 2008. He’s been with the bank for 27 years.

He had a normal upbringing in the mid-west of the United States and went to a state university. Throughout college, he maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA.

His final college exam was a business strategy exam. As usual, he was well prepared, having done lots of revision.

He walked into the examination room. His professor put a single, blank piece of paper in front of everyone before walking back to the front of the room.

His professor instructed the group, “Turn your exam papers over!” The other side of the paper was blank as well.

His professor then said, “We’ve been together for ten weeks. I’ve taught you everything I can. But the most important message, the most important question, is this one. I’d like you to write the answer on your exam paper.

“What is the name of the lady who cleans this building?”

Walt had no idea. As a result, he failed the exam and received a B for the subject. It was the only subject where he didn’t get a perfect GPA.

He now says it taught him a perfect lesson.

The lady’s name was Dottie. He’d seen her a lot but had never bothered or cared to ask her name.

It was the only test he ever failed, but he says he deserved it. He resolved to never ignore another Dottie in his life.

About  Anecdote International

Anecdote International is a global training and consulting company, specialising in utilising storytelling to bring humanity back to the workforce. Anecdote is now unique in having a global network of over 60 partners in 28 countries, with their learning programs translated into 11 languages, and customers who incorporate these programs into their leadership and sales enablement activities.


  1. Roxanne Missingham says:

    Loved this episode!

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