Mitt Romney on Leadership: Know Your Values


[MUSIC] [APPLAUSE] Thank you. Thank you.
Quite an introduction! Quite a class! Wow! It’s great!>>Governor, welcome to the GSB.>>Thank you.>>Welcome to The View From the Top. We’re excited to have you here because
you’ve managed to be at the top of, I think at last count, at least four
organizations. And so we wanna talk about your
professional success and, and management skills. But one thing the Dean mentioned, which I
think is particularly important is your committment to personal success, your
family, your community, your faith. And I want to start by an anecdote, which
is actually the first time we met. And I haven’t told you this story, though you know I grew up in your hometown
for some time. And that’s 21 years ago, you invited a bunch of boy scouts over to
your house when I was 9 years old. To have a-
>>Oh.>>Yeah. [LAUGH] No it’s good.>>They’re still cleaning up that mess.>>Yeah. [LAUGH] Yeah. So you, you invited a bunch of us over to
your house. I think it was about 30 boys and we were
there on a Saturday or Sunday and you spent the day with us all
day, grilling burgers. It was a pool party. And I’m struck by two things as I remember
that story. One is that there aren’t very many parties
I remember from being nine years old. So you clearly know how to throw a very
good party.>>[LAUGH]
>>Serving beer to kids is always a [INAUDIBLE]
>>Yeah, right.>>[LAUGH]
>>Right. So thank you for that. [LAUGH] The second is that, you know, on
reflecting on the story, I realized that this was roughly around
the time you were running Bain Capital and about to embark on the Senate campaign,
and that really struck me. Where the press is filled with stories
when you were leading major organizations but still found time for these kind of
examples. And the word having it all gets thrown
around a lot but you have sort of managed to have it all. You have a great career, you have a great
family, you’re committed to your community. I wanna know how you’ve managed to strike
that balance and have it all.>>I don’t know that I’ve spent a lot of
time analyzing how you balance your life, at one point I
remember feeling that I wasn’t dong as much as I should be doing
in my home with my kids. Also feeling I wasn’t doing as much as I
should be doing at work, and also feeling I wasn’t doing as much as I,
I should at church in my assignment there, and then realizing that not things were
pretty well in balance [LAUGH] and and, and there may be. It’s humorous, perhaps, but there’s some
truth to that. Which is if you’re spending all of your
time in, in one aspect of your life and not devoting it to other things that are
important to you, then obviously things are out of whack. I, a couple of things I backed into. You’re in the joint program. Business law program. I, I came from Brigham Young University to
Harvard. And was convinced I would flunk out. And cuz I looked around and I saw all these people who were obviously
smarter than me and and how was I possibly gonna make it in this environment except
by just studying like crazy. And so, I studied all the time. And if I was not studying, I felt like
there’s this black cloud hanging over me. I should be studying. I’ve gotta be working because I’m gonna,
I’m gonna flunk out. And, and it was, it was omnipresent and at
some point I finally said you know what, I’m, I’m gonna do something which, which
goes back to biblical times, I’m gonna take Sunday off. I’m gonna decide I’m not gonna study at
all on Sunday, and I’m gonna devote that day to my family, to
worship and just personal time. And it was amazing what happened when I
made that decision because then, on that Sunday, I didn’t feel the black
cloud there anymore. It’s like, okay I, I, I can’t study today,
I don’t have to worry about it. And, and the same thing happened as, as I
went into my career, in the consulting industry. I said, you know what? I, I’m not just gonna work when I come at
the end of the day. It may be a late night. It may be I get home at 6:00 or 7:00
instead. But when I come home I’m gonna close my
brief, briefcase and not work. And I’m gonna devote the time I have at
home to my family. And it was wonderful. It was just, it was, it was freeing
because I could really focus on the things that I cared most about in life
which, which were my wife and my kids. And now of course if there was a big
presentation coming up why I’d, you know, I’d break that rule. But, in terms of a, a regular pattern of
life those were a couple of things I did. Sundays stayed, for me, a day of family. Coming home at the end of the day stayed a
family time. I traveled a good deal. Of course, if I was, was on the road I
worked like crazy late into the night. But a few of those decisions early on
shaped how I spent my time and probably helped me balance my life to, towards
those things that mattered most to me.>>So how did you get away with that?>>[LAUGH]
>>I mean, there’s a lot of people, I mean, all of us come from these, you
know, careers or are going into these careers where, if you say, I’m gonna go
home at 6 o’clock, I’m sorry. That, you know, that’s not always met with
a lot of positive reception.>>Yeah, no.
I, I, and I may have misspoken there. Some nights, I might have been able to get
home at seven.>>Or take Sunday off.>>And, and, but, but I but I found if you
take a block of time off for yourself you may well be more productive
than if you don’t. And and that may not be true depending on
the organization you go to. But I remember when I was talking to Bill
Bain about joining Bain and Company and I said look I, I have to take all day
Sunday off. So if there’s like a company meeting, or
if you want to come in for a case team meetings on Sunday, I just
won’t be there. And if that’s something that, that the firm can’t accept, then I’m
probably not the right guy for the firm. And, and I live by that. A, again, unless there was some kind of a,
an unusual experience, some, you know, terrible crisis happened. I was going to jump in with both feet like
everybody else. But that was the every day occurrence, and
I think it may be more effective and more productive. And I, I had good consulting assignments
and got promoted as time went on. So I don’t think it hurts to have
something more in your life than just work. I think, I think having faith, or a
community that you care about, politics, and children. I think that makes you a more full human
being, more able to understand how the world
works, and how most people think, and may actually make you more effective. And by the way if it doesn’t, and you
don’t get promoted in the way you wanted to And you don’t
make as much money as you wanted to. So what?
Life is not about getting promoted and money. If that’s how you measure your life, I got
some bad news. There’s serendipity in the world. Bad things happen in business and the
economy. You can’t be guaranteed you’re gonna get
promoted, and make a lot of money. But if you measure yourself by the things
that count most to you, your relationship with your spouse, your friendships, your
children, your family, those things you can succeed at whether or not the
world goes to hell in a handbasket. So you know, I think you lay out how you
want to live your life and, and you do that you can have success regardless of
what happens in the world around you.>>You mentioned your time at Harvard and
how this kind of came to you then. This, this need to create some sectors in
your life. One of the other decisions you made at
Harvard was, you’re graduating with a JDMBA, you
decided to go into management consulting. I’m curious for all of us making these
kind of choices today if you Have similar interests, and were here where we are
today, would you make the same decision to go
into management consulting? And I ask that as a JDMBA going into
management consulting, so I hope the answer is yes.>>My condolences.>>Yeah, no, thank you.>>No, I mean, my path, was very different
than the success books suggested. I mean there are books out there that said
that you know you ought to have a clear goal in mind and
think about that goal and and I grew up in Detroit My dad was a car
company CEO. And I fully anticipated to go work for a
co, for an automobile company. That’s what I wanted to do. And so after my first year in the JDMP
program, I went to work at Chrysler Corporation. And thinking that’s where I was gonna go. And I hated it. I was so deep in the organization. And of course the people, I mean, my boss’
boss’ boss had never met the CEO and never would. And and decisions being made that would
affect the success of that company, I’d never have any impact on unless I was
there 50 or some odd years. And I thought boy, this is just not at all
like I imagined it. And, and so I came back in the second
year, and, got a job. I think it was my second year, in the
program. I got a job with the Boston Consulting
Group, for a summer job. And it was fascinating, and it was
exciting. And I loved it. And, and so it was not a great analysis I
did to say, this is the right next step for my career. I just enjoyed it. My path in life has primarily been focused
on doing things I thought were fun and enjoyable, and so that was fun. My undergraduate major was English. Why would you go into English? There’s no future, right, as an English
major? What are you going to do, all right? But I liked reading and I liked writing. So I went, I took English as my major, and
then coming out of business school, law school I went into consulting because
I enjoyed it, not because that’s where I thought I’d
spend my life. I expected I’d be there for two or three
years, like most people do, and then get a job in a line corporation of
some kind and, and perhaps move up, more aggressively by
having started in consulting. I love consulting. Because I am, I am oriented towards
solving problems. I like analysis and data and problem
solving and writing and writing presentations. That’s what I like to do. That’s what took me there. And so, I would, I would go to those, I’ve
followed the career path that you enjoy most as
opposed to trying to follow a career path that you think will lead to the highest
income or the quickest promotion. Do what you enjoy and then your life will
be enjoyable and fulfilling.>>So, one other thing you’re known for is parachuting into very troubled
environments. You went from being captain back to being
consulting to turn that around. You went from Bain Cap to the Olympics,
turned that around, and then you parachuted into my home state of
Massachusetts and helped turn that around as well. What, what led you to make those
decisions? What were you looking at to make to make
those kind of like pretty risky bets.>>Yeah I, I don’t know that I have jumped
into troubled situations because I enjoy troubled situations. [LAUGH] I, I, but but it is a sense of
obligation. And maybe it’s my upbringing or my faith. Or I say upbringing in my parents. My dad had this sense of obligation to the
country. And my dad was born in Mexico, of American
parents living there. There was a revolution at the time. Came back to the United States. Lived in public housing, got public
assistance, and and grew up poor, very poor. And had a, a, perhaps as a result of that, of bringing in the opportunity in this
life, th, that developed over his life, had a great sense of obligation to America
and to the community. And so, whenever he felt that there was a
need that wasn’t being met, he volunteered and jumped in. And, and somehow, I felt the same way. So, in, the first step, you mentioned
going from Bain Capital, which was highly successful and growing like crazy, and
Bain Consulting was in trouble and it was in trouble because of financial
steps that had been taken by the founders. And it looked like it might disappear all
together. And I was asked by the partners of the
consulting firm if I would leave Bain Capital for a couple years, and come
back, and run the consulting firm. And I felt like how, how can I say no? There were a thousand people who were
working at Bain Consulting at that point, and I figured that there was a very high
risk it wouldn’t make it. I had the particular skills that were most
needed at that point. Financial skills. Cuz they needed a financial re-engineering
as well as some leadership skills. And so I came back to the consulting firm. The Olympics? Why go to the Olympics? I mean, I I’ve pointed this out before. There was some irony that a person of such
limited athletic talent would be running, running the, I mean, I didn’t even letter
in a sport in high school, and I’d be running the premier sporting event
in the world. But I, I and I was not a big fan of the
olympics. When I heard that Utah won the games, it’s
like, yeah, so what, who cares whether and but then, when I got
asked to take a close look at it, when it was in trouble, a few things
weighed in my mind. One was that this was the community my
parents had been raised in and, and it was gonna be tarnished by a potential
scandal. Number two, I began to recognize that the
Olympics is one of the few remaining places In the world
where, where young people get to see, day in and day out, the great qualities of
the human spirit. From hard work and dedication to patriotism to teamwork,
passion to, to determination. I mean the, the list goes on and on. We watch the Olympics not because we’re
Enthralled with bobsled, you know, or ski jumping. But instead because we see these young
people from around the world, in, in a crucible of stress rising above
it all. And great things are, are, are viewed. And so I thought it’s important these
games go on. And I have the particular skillset that’s
probably needed at a time like this to get the games back on track and the same thing
running for Governor. We had a Republican Governor at the time I
was considering coming back after the Olympics and running for governor. But the approval rating of our Republican
governor was 13% and, and a number of republican leaders said we really, would
really appreciate you coming back and applying what you’ve learned in your prior
experiences to help our state turn around. We’ve got this massive, massive deficit. And a lot of people are going to lose
jobs, we’re going to lose our economic edge as a
state. Can you come back? And that’s what, that’s what drew me and that’s part of the way Why end up running
for President? It was out of a sense of obligation and,
and love for the country. And a sense that I was in the right place
at the right time. And with one thing. You’ve heard the quote many times. My mother asked it, or said it all the
time. If not now, when? If not here, where? And if not me, who? And, and she said if, if you’re the right
person at the right time, how can you possibly walk away?>>I am interested because clearly your
drive comes from this commitment to public service, but, you mentioned your father as
a great influence on you and you talk about him a lot. And one of the quotes from your, the
documentary on you, is you talking about him and saying, you
know, you always think about dad and how you stand on his shoulders. How could you go from his beginnings to I
can run for president? I started off where he ended up. And that’s a very self-reflective
statement that I think is really interesting. And I’m wondering how much of his success
pushes you to strive higher, to aim higher, to push yourself more than
maybe you would have otherwise.>>You know, I think some people compete
with their dad or their mom because they have a sense that,
that will fulfill who they are or define them as a success because they beat
their dad or they beat their mom. I’m not in that category. I didn’t feel in any way I needed to
compete with my dad. In part because he was uncompetitive, with
family or friends, or whatever. A guy entirely without guile. That said, what my dad and my mom taught
us in our home, and the way they they lived their life
affected the way I developed. And, and led me to have certain skills I
probably wouldn’t have had without that upbringing, and gave me a perspective on
life I probably wouldn’t have had without being raised in their home. I, I was young, lucky, lucky to be the
youngest in the family, and, and I was six years younger than my next
oldest sibling. And the result of that was that I was kind
of home with my parents for the last six years after my brother went up to school,
and so Dad could take me to work with him. And, and I would watch my dad, first when I was younger at American
Motors, interacting with executives there. Then I saw him as Governor, and would go
to meetings and watch him. My summer jobs were working at the
Governor’s office, signing his name, by the way. [LAUGH] On, on, on notary certificates,
all right? It’s very strange, that I authorized
people’s signatures with my dad’s false signature, but none the less.>>[LAUGH]
>>I, I got, I got to watch, I got to watch how my dad interacted with
people, not recognizing that I was really learning
from that experience. And so, yeah, my, my dad and, and, and to
a great extent also my mom, and the commitment they made to family and
church and community shaped what I felt was right
about how I should live my life.>>I wanna turn to leadership and
management, and talk about some of the success stories
you’ve had of which there are many. I’m curious, when you go, you, you’ve led
multiple different types of organizations, private sector, public sector, non-profit. When you go into any these situations, are
there any leadership or management principles you take with you no matter
where you go, that you found successful?>>You know, and, and I mentioned this to
you, Ryan before we came in here. And, that is I, I was one day sitting with
a the Chief Financial Officer of my state, who was someone I’d hired from Bain
Capital, and before that he’d worked at Bain and I had
Bain Consulting. So, I knew him well, Eric Kriss is his
name, and a nephew of Milton Friedman by the
way. But Eric said to me, Mitt, there are two
types of leaders. One is the kind of leader that knows a
particular techniques and skills they use in leading. And the other is someone who has no clue
why they’re a leader. You’re in the latter group [LAUGH]. So, I’m not sure I’m, I’m gonna be able
to, to help you with this, with this question. But there are, there is no question in, in
my mind, but the things that, that allowed me to be effective in
consulting and then In helping form a private equity firm
and venture capital firm. And then in the Olympics and then in the
state. That, that those kinds of, of attributes
passed from one one sphere to the next. I, I don’t know what they all are. One, one is, I believe, having a clear
vision of where you want to go and, and being able to articulate that to yourself. Perhaps writing it down. I tend to, I take out the, the notes
section of my iPad and, and will, will write down what it is I want to
accomplish and think about precisely what I hope to
accomplish with a particular assignment. So, I’ll write that down. So, having a clear objective, I think, is
important. Number two I think it’s important to know
what your values are. I didn’t ever write that down. I just knew what they were. But, for me, people and, and associations
with other people and friendships with people were more
important than, than any other aspect of what an
enterprise might be doing. More important than profit, more important
than gaining market share, more important than promotion. What, what, were the feelings I had for
other people and they had for me. And so I have, I don’t try and treat
people with respect, I do treat people with respect because I
respect people. It’s not that I say to myself to be an
effective leader I have to be respectful of people. No, I mean, I am respectful of people, because I respect other human beings as
being sons and daughters of God. And, and equal in all respects to me. So, that, that is, I think that’s just
part of, kind of, I mean, again I get that from my parents. That’s just part of who you are, or who
you aren’t, as the case may be. I don’t think you can fake that. And, and I, I’ll mention one other thing,
and then you, you can come back to it. I like a, or push me further if you’d
like.>>[LAUGH]
>>As a management style, I like extensive participation. I like a lot of give and take. I remember on one occasion the Chief of Staff while I was serving as
Governor came in. And she said look, we’ve had this tough decision to make
about whether to spend, I can’t remember how many hundreds of million of dollars
putting in this new subway line. And and, and she said, I’m going to bring in the cabinet members,
we all agreed, that we should do it. All of us admit, we’ve gone through the
numbers, and, and the pros and cons, and we all agree we should do it. And they all sat there, and I said, does
anyone here disagree with this decision? And they said no that they were all on
board, and I said then I can’t possibly go ahead. He said, what do you mean? I said, well, I have to have someone here
who disagrees. We’ve gotta have someone who can make an
argument for why it’s a bad decision. Pl, please go back and find, if you have
to, someone on the other side of the aisle, in the Senate or the House, or
someone who really disagrees with this, and then let’s take it apart once we can
have that kind of debate. I love that kind of exchange and debate. And, and, not because, you know, I think I’m the judge who can always pick
out the right, the right answer, but because I enjoy the give and take, and the
mental exchange. And I find when you have that kind of
exchange, often times I end up being wrong. Often times others are wrong, but we learn
from it. And I am entirely non-defensive about
whether my answer, the one, the preconceived notion I came in with was
right or not. I only care about getting to the right
answer. And if the group, if as a group we can
come up with a right answer, I don’t care whose idea it was. It’s like yeah, let’s, let, you know, it’s
the fun and the engagement of drawing on people and their experience that I, that I
find compelling. And I’ll mention one more thing. And that is, I, I used to think I should
spend my time, as a leader, working with people to help
them overcome their weaknesses. And then I realized that’s a waste of
time, because, by and large, people don’t overcome their weaknesses. Instead, I found that my job was to help
people take advantage of their strengths. And if they had weaknesses, define ways to
ac, to accommodate that by bringing in other people who had the strengths where
they had weaknesses. Or where I had weaknesses. And I do, by the way. And by the way, I have tended to bring in
people who, who can complement my own weaknesses. And, and so it being capital, for instance, I, we are a, a very different
group of people. It’s not th, th, th, the 18 partners that
were there when I left. Now there are over 100. But the 18 partners who were there had
very different personalities and skills. In part because I saw my job as not trying
to make them all the same, but instead taking advantage of the particular
skills people had and encouraging those things and filling in
th, the blank spots and the flat spots. Where where they may not have been, may
not have been quite as effective.>>Your most recent management challenge
was your presidential organization. And I’m curious.>>You may heard. I didn’t win. [LAUGH]
>>Yes.>>[LAUGH]>>I did hear that. And and, and, and that’s actually what I wanna ask about, is when you look back at managing that
organization. I know everyone can play Monday morning
quarterback in politics, but when you look back at managing that
organization, what was different about managing a
presidential campaign? And, and maybe what would you have done
differently if you, if you looked at it from a management
standpoint again?>>Well, a candidate is by and large not
the manager of the campaign. And, and and that has brought home to you
day in and day out by the people who are managing the
campaign.>>[LAUGH]
>>And, and and so I you know I, I have run for office before. I’ve worked on my mother’s campaign for US
Senate. I worked on my father’s campaigns. My father ran for governor three times and
was elected three times. He ran for president, was not elected. But I worked on my dad’s campaigns, my
mother’s campaign and the candidate is really out there
speaking. The candidate is out, is out doing the job
of connecting with people and, and and, and taking the message to the, to
the voting public. The people running the campaign you choose
like you would if you were the, the chairman of the board. And you choose someone to be the chief
executive officer, the chief operating officer. And you have both in a campaign. You have a CEO and a COO in a well run
campaign. And so I was not the CEO or the COO of my
campaign. I was probably more like the chairman of
the, of the campaign. And, and key strategic decisions, I
insisted on being a part of. And, and managed in the way that, that
I’ve just described. We would have probably the eight or ten top people in the campaign come
together and debate major issues. So if, in a presidential campaign. Was I gonna play in Iowa? This is in 2012, I played in 2008 and, and found Iowa to be, Iowa to be expensive and
a good start but not sufficient. Was I gonna play in Iowa or was it hopeless and should I just go
directly to New Hampshire? And we debated that at great length. And and talked about a strategy to go
forward, and, and, and selected a strategy which worked very
well. Winning the nomination, by the way, is not
easy. You know after it’s over it all looks very
easy. Oh you were obviously gonna get the
nomination. Oh yeah, I mean, I was behind Rick
Santorum, in the last three states. I believe Iowa. I don’t mean Iowa. Illinois. Wisconsin, Michigan, also, Ohio. I think I was be, behind five or ten
points, with only days to go before the the
primary. And so, it is tough to do that, and I
think we did pretty, pretty well, I think, in the general election. We faced some real challenges and made
some big mistakes. And, and, but as I looked back at the, at
the process that we pursued, I’m, I’m pleased with the process and
pleased with the people. We had a really good team of people. Very committed and one of the things I
liked about it, there was the not the kind of politics
inside the organization you sometimes see. People, you know, backstabbing and trying
to claim credit for good things. You know, people have strengths and
weaknesses. Each of our team members, had like myself,
had real weaknesses, but we worked well by and large and, and got a
lot of things right and some things wrong. You mentioned things wrong. One of the big challenges that a
Republican candidate has is that, that minority voters tend not to vote
extensively in Republican primaries, or participate in Republican caucuses. They tend to vote in democratic primaries
and democratic caucuses. So if you’re Jeb Bush right now or Chris
Christie or Marco Rubio or Scott Walker and you want to get the
nomination, you’re going to be going to the people who
vote in your primaries and in your caucuses which will, by and large,
not be minority voters. So for the next year you’re gonna watch
the candidates on my side of the aisle spend all their time with the
white population and typically not at colleges either. And then when they get the nomination,
when somebody finally becomes the nominee, they run to the minority community and say give me your vote and they say where
have you been? All right? And that was a mistake I made. Which is, I was so anxious to get the
nomination, I didn’t spend as much time as I should
have taking my message to minority voters, fighting on minority, or in this case,
Hispanic T, uh,TV and radio airwaves, getting my message across,
even though it wouldn’t have helped me in the primary necessarily It certainly was
essential in the general. And, I think that was something we missed
in our strategy sessions. And, in part because we looked at what had
happened in the past. We said we had to target independent
voters so we went after independence. I won independent voters. Won them in, in, in Ohio among other
states. We said hey, if you got it, independent
vote in Ohio, you are gonna win. No they’re not [LAUGH] we needed a much
better showing among minority voters and that’s a place we really messed up and you
know, so I go back and say would I have changed the
team? I, I like the team, I, I was proud of the
team we had. And the way we work together. But do we make a mistake in strategy? Sure, that, that among others.>>Moving to the idea of running for
office. People in the room have come up to me and
said they want to pursue a career in business like you, and then run for
office, like you. I’m curious. If you were to give advice today to
someone like that, would you follow your father’s advice,
which was, you know, find a career, find a reason not to run, and then run later on
when you don’t have so much at stake? Or would it be something different in
today’s age?>>I’m afraid I’m, I’m prisoner of my
dad’s advice.>>[LAUGH]
>>And, and, and I’ll tell you why. My dad’s advice was, because my dad ran
for governor when he was 56 years old. He’d been head of a car company. He he felt that his state was circling the
drain, the state of Michigan. He saw that, that automobile jobs were
leaving, his state, going to other states, and, and other countries, and felt that he
had to try and turn things around. He felt that race relations in the state
were a word, awful and civil rights have not been advanced as
they should. That the schools and the city, Detroit,
were, were just a tragedy. And so, he got involved and ran for
governor. I got involved in his campaigns. I found politics very exciting, and he
said to me, as also to my sisters and brother. He said, you know, I wouldn’t get involved
in politics until your kids are raised and if, and only if you’re financially
independent. And it’s like wow. That, that’s never gonna happen. I thought I mean, I mean you know working
in, in consulting is great but it’s not gonna make you financially
independent. And so I never imagined I’d get involved
in politics. And and what happened was starting Bain
Capital and then having the stock market take off and,
if you’re leveraged, and the stock market goes from 1,000 to
10,000, it’s a good thing, all right? And so.
>>[LAUGH]>>So suddenly I bec, I, those, those conditions became met. I, I.>>[LAUGH]
>>That’s the euphemism of the day.>>I’ll write that down, yeah.
>>Yeah.>>[LAUGH]>>But I, I personally, and I don’t, I don’t think you have to be
financially independent to run for office. I, I think you have to be able to, to meet your mortgage without having to
win the election, however.
And that was what my dad was concerned about.
I I think it really helps, if people who.
Who go to work in the statehouse or go to work in Washington actually have
experience in the real economy and in the real world and can take that
experience to government. Whether that’s in teaching, or working in
the foreign service, or, or working, in a corporation, I think it really helps
yo go there with background and experience that you can share with others. I think that was the concept with the, that the founders had in mind in forming
our, our Republic. And that is that you had come from a, a
real, I mean look at John Adams. I mean, he was a, a farmer in
Massachusetts, went to serve, became President, went backed home and,
and went back home, became a farmer again. And, and I think that’s a better model
then what we have right now. And so, you know, my advice would be. Yeah, work at a real job. Get some experience. And if the window opens, you see an
opportunity to serve, locally, state wide, nationally. Then jump in. Because good people are needed badly. You, another quote you, you said in your
documentary was that the other side often acts like they don’t know what
it’s like to own a business. They don’t know what it’s like to have
everything on the line. And I see that disconnect a lot today, especially with income inequality as a
burgeoning issue. In particular, private equity is something
that you were tremendously successful in, in the campaign talked about it in a
different way. And a lot of our classmates are going into
private equity or going into these business careers that are
seen as very prestigious here but maybe elsewhere are seen differently. I’m wondering what you think about that
disconnect and whether there’s ways we can bridge that
divide or how you think about it now. Well a couple of things, one, my, my
concern about incomes in America is not so much focused on why
some people make so much, as opposed to why are so many people
making so little. And, and we have large cohorts of people
in this country who have not seen rising incomes, and and
have not seen it for a long time. And, and so my concern is how do we get
people out of generational poverty? How do we get people out of situational
poverty? And how do we get the whole middle class
in America, as well as lower income folks, to see rising incomes again? And that, that for me is the big, is the
big issue. I, I don’t look at peop, at Steve Jobs and
say boy, he’s a bad person for making all that money. I, I look and say thank heavens for Steve
Jobs, Bill Gates and, and Scott McNealy and, and Marc Andreessen,
more power to them. Do, be more and more successful. And, by the way, if you wanna give it all
away during life, that’s fine too. Great. But, so I don’t look and say okay those, I
don’t think those people are the problem, I think the problem is how come we’re not
able to lift more? How come we can’t get more people to see
rising incomes and, and more prosperity? And there are a lot of reasons for, for
that, but, but I happen to believe very fundamentally and profoundly, that without
question, that the best principles for helping people get out of poverty and
seeing rising incomes is for, is for us to follow conservative and Republican
principles. Now, you might say oh well that’s, that
doesn’t make sense, you’re just the party of the rich. Let me tell you friends, the rich will do
fine whether Democrats are in power, liberals are in power, conservatives or
Republicans. The rich do fine all over the world. The rich do just fine. The people whose lives are affected by
politics and leadership are the people in the middle
and the people at the bottom end. And the reason I’m a Republican is that I
believe the principles that, that my party stands for, or at least that
I stand for. That those principles are the best
designed to help people see rising incomes again and better jobs for their kids. And, and the best principles to get people
out of poverty. I, I mean I, don’t, I mean I, and we could have this debate at great
length but I think evidence proves it. I think logic proves it. That’s why I’m Republican. That’s why I ran for office is I want to
help people in the middle and in the bottom see rising incomes and, and I believe that you’re successful, then
you’re enterprising. You’re going into business. More power to you. Go out there, be successful. Build a business, work in a business
that’s already there, make it better. The better an enterprise does, the more
profits it makes, the more you can invest. The more you invest, the more you can
grow. The more you grow, the more people you can
hire. The more people that are being hired, the
more wages will go up. Wages go up because there’s demand for
labor that outstrips the supply of labor. That’s how they go up, and so, I, I want
you to succeed. I mean, I look at you and when you’re all
highly successful businesspeople as you hope you will be, I won’t look at you
and say there’s the enemy. I’ll say they’re my friends, I love you, I
appreciate what you’re doing, I want to see you successful. And as you’re successful, I want you to
recognize that your success is contributing to the success of our country
and to those people who rely on the jobs
you’ll help create.>>We only have time for one more question before we’re gonna move
to audience Q and A. And it’s a simple question, maybe. It’s just what does the future hold for
you? You’re boxing Evander Holyfield.>>Yeah. Yeah.
>>In the near future.>>Yeah.>>Which>>Is a risky. I can say is a risky decision to me, but you know, I
>>[LAUGH] The term pulling his punches come to mind, yeah.>>Yeah, hopefully. Yeah.
>>[LAUGH] Yeah. Yeah.>>But I’m curious, you know, what, what
do you want to do next, given all you’ve accomplished?>>Well, you know, I, I would, I continue,
I continue to be motivated by the same things that got me into
presidential politics in the first place. And so I will work for individuals who I believe will get America
on the right track to once again create more jobs than we have supply
of labor, to see rising incomes again. That means better schools, that means
better innovation, that means making America the most
attractive place for entrepreneurs and innovators and businesses of all kinds. It also means an entirely different
foreign policy. I happen to think that the foreign policy
of the last six or seven years has been a disaster and the
globe is feeling it. So I wanna change direction for our
country in, in a way that I think would be more productive for the safety of the
world, and the well-being of the world, for the preservation of liberty, and for
rising prosperity for all Americans. So that how do I do that? By campaigning and raising money for
Senate and Congressional seats at the, at the national level. By helping Republican candidates for
President. I’d help the Democrat candidates, but
they, they’re not asking for my advice at this point.>>[LAUGH].
>>And there’s only one, really, at this stage.>>[LAUGH]
>>And, and but I, you know, I speak regularly with with people who are
running for office and offer my advice and will continue to do so and in, I mean I do
a lot of fundraisers and, and speeches. And, by the way the reason I’m here. During my campaign, I wasn’t at college
campuses and business school and law schools. I was at Harvard law school last week and I was at Duke and, and, I’ll be at
University of Chicago coming soon. The end of this week I’ll be at, at, at,
in Jacksonville, Florida. I speak to college campuses cuz I want
people to understand. The people who are conservative, are conservative, because we believe the
principals of conservatism are best able to help the middle class and
the poor. We know how to end poverty. Generational poverty. But we’re not doing it. Because there’s not a political will for
it to happen. But, so, that, that’s what I’m devoted to. Now at the same time I’m back in business, because I want to make sure that I can
provide for myself and my family without drawing down their
inheritance and and of course e, every politician who leaves office says
I’m gonna spend more time with the family. I actually am. I have 23 grandkids and I’m spending time
with the family and love it. Thank you Ryan.>>Great.
Well we’re gonna move to some Q and A now. And there’ll be mics on the left and the
right side. So raise your hand high if you’re
interested in asking a question. For those at the top please continue to
Tweet your questions. And we’re gonna start with a question from
Twitter so I’ll point to [UNKNOWN] over here. Yeah?>>What worries you most about the U.S.
economy?>>Well I’m, I’m concerned that we may be
seeing a bubble in, in in tech stocks and, and that we could
have the, a kind of disruptive event that could cause the, the
stock market to collapse. And I’m not, I’m not terrified about
people losing money in the stock market. I’m terrified about, about going into a
recession again. That would put a lot of people out of
work. Obviously the Fed has used every tool it
has to get this economy going. And if we went into a recession at this
point, there are not a lot of tools. I mean we’re already at zero, effectively
zero interest rates. So there are not a lot of tools. We’ve, we’re spending massively more than
we take in. So we’re, we’re pursuing a highly
stimulative monetary policy and a highly stimulative fiscal policy both,
so if we went into recession at this point
that’d be pretty tough. I hope that doesn’t happen. I think there’s some positive, elements on
the, on the horizon that, one of course, is very low cost of energy which is
stimulative. Gives people more money to spend and those
things are encouraging. I don’t think we’re gonna see something of
an immediate nature that causes us to fall into recession again. I sure hope not, but the rest of the world
is a little iffy and it can have an impact in America. Longer term though is my, is my concern. Longer term, I see America as adopting of
the policies of Europe. Higher and higher corporate taxes,
although Europe is getting away from that. I’ll say the traditional policies of
Europe. Higher and higher corporate taxes. Higher and higher levels of regulation. Higher and higher personal attacks. Burdens. Schools that are being run, more for the interest of the, the unions than they
are for the students. Permanent intractable poverty. Generational poverty is what I’m referring
to. These things give me a great deal of
concern. I, I’m concerned about America’s
innovation lead. We, the, the political class doesn’t
understand we’re in competition. The political class thinks like the
American business world used to think back in the 1960s, which you
didn’t. And then came along strategy. Which was the idea of not just how good I
am, but how good I am relative against everyone I
compete with. And right now we’re competing and the
political class doesn’t understand that we’re competing with Russia, and with
China, and with the Jihadists. They have a strategy, Russia has a strategy China has a
strategy, and objectives. The jihadists do. What’s America’s strategy? What’s our global strategy? Where are we headed? What are we trying to accomplish? What are we doing in Latin America, what’s
our strategy for North Africa, the Middle East? Hilary Clinton said it right. Just deciding not to do dumb things is not
a strategy. And and so, I mean, that, that’s what
concerns me most about America and about our economy is that we don’t seem to
have a strategy about where we’re heading. And we’re becoming more and more like
Europe on a number of dimensions, education, poverty, taxation, regulation,
and foreign policy. And that, that gives me concern, and
that’s why I’m as active as I am still, politically. Though I’m not running for office, thank
you very much>>[LAUGH] We have a question over here. Stand up then, just introduce yourself
please.>>Hi.>>Hi Governor Romney, my name is Alex
Pierce, and I’m a first year all select [UNKNOWN] I’m
from Massachusetts as well. One of the central themes of the GSB, and
the view from the top program is the power of Authenticity as a tool for
effective leadership. We see then a business but we see that, I
think, less so in political leadership. And so I wanted to see how you balanced
being the authentic Mitt Romney versus what you thought the audience or the kind
of Republican machine wanted you to be like, or what, what did you wanted to
say?>>Yeah, you know, one of the great
challenges in running for office, is that you will be defined by your
opposition. And at and it and, by the way, an attack
is, is very difficult to respond to without
spending all your time in response. I remember the first time I got attacked,
and this was when I was running against Ted
Kennedy. And, and, and my, you know I went to my
staff and I said you know we got to answer these
charges these attacks. And they said you know, if you are
explaining you are losing. The, that is a little catch phrase in
politics, if you are explaining you are losing. So you never explain, you never respond to
the attacks. You just attack back. And the only thing you can do is attack
back just harder. And, and so these campaigns are just
attack, attack, attack. And by and large, it’s very difficult in a campaign to have
people get to know who you really are. I mean, in a campaign you spent more time
with me by far. And I mean TV time included. If you take all the time you saw during
the 2012 campaign, of b, and compare it with what we spent in this
room, we spent more time now, together, talking about things that we all care
about. We choose candidates based on very little
interaction with them, and typically the interaction is watching 30
second ads, which are packaged and very brief, and by and large are attacking
their opponent. And, and then debates. And that’s about it. Some people have noted, you know, Mitt, if
you’d have just shown that, that documentary that was done on you,
why, the, the people would’ve had a different
perspective. It’s, like, yeah.
But who would’ve watched a documentary? All right? Who’s gonna sit down and watch a one and a
half hour movie on someone running for office? I mean, no one’s gonna do that cuz you’re
gonna figure, rightly, it was all, you know, entered in for the
campaign, by the campaign, and, and so I, I I don’t know how we can do a better job
describing and showing who we are. And, and my own view was, look, I was, I
served as Governor for four years. The positions I had and the postures I
took on issues were the same as when I was governor as
when I was running for president. And hopefully people will get that
perspective based on my record. But it’s, it’s a real challenge and, and
in the upcoming election presuming Hilary Clinton is the nominee on
the democratic side. And she may not be, but it looks obviously
very good for here now. She’s pretty well defined in people’s
minds, pro and con. On the Republican side, people aren’t as
well defined. And so they’re going to have a challenge, whoever our nominee is, becoming better
known in the mind of the public. And the goal of the opposition will be to
define the Republican in a negative light, in a very negative light, and that’s just,
that’s part of the territory. You know, getting into a race. It’s, it’s, it, it, you, I was gonna say
it’s not fun. The truth is it is fun. Running for President is really fun. It’s like for sport for old guys. All right?
>>[LAUGH]>>It’s, and you come away, passionate about a coun,
the country, more optimistic about the country, you
meet extraordinary people. It’s a wonderful experience. If you get the chance to run for
president, do it for sure. But I love the experience. And, and, you know, I just wish in the
campaign, you had more time to be seen and known by more people and I think if people
did that, we’d have a better shot at electing people
we were happy with after the election.>>Yeah, thanks.>>Great, we have one question over here
in the back.>>Okay, yes sir.>>Hey, my name’s Elliot Damachek, and I’m
a second-year MBA. Was at Bain Consulting beforehand and
going back afterwards, so thank you for helping to make that exist.>>[LAUGH]
>>[LAUGH] My question is around you mentioned that your father was helped by
public assistance programs a while back, and traditionally the view of the
Republican party is much less favorable towards those types of programs. So I was wondering how your view on that
has evolved and how it’s shaped by your father’s
experience.>>Yeah.
Thank you. A,a, actually, there are, I, I gotta talk
about two groups of, of People in poverty. One I’ll call situational poverty. Someone loses a job, or, or has a life
changing illness of some kind. And the situation means, they’re now in
poverty. Those people typically come out of poverty
relatively quicker. When I say relatively quick, they come out
of poverty eventually. And, and the programs to help them come
out of poverty are extraordinarily helpful and important. And it could be housing, food, training
programs, child care and so forth. And we have a good series of social help
programs for people in that setting. I’m sure they could get better. Unemployment insurance is another of
those. And they should be fine tuned and evaluated to see what makes them more
effective, but those work well. Where, where Republicans like myself have
some angst is in our solutions for generational property, and that’s people
who obviously go from generation to generation in poverty and don’t ever get
out. Back in the 1960s, when I was in high school, Lyndon Johnson
declared the War on Poverty. We today have record levels of poverty,
more than when Johnson was president. About 15% of Americans live in poverty. So, so, why didn’t it work? And the answer is the programs that were
put into place, in many respects, made it more difficult
for many people to get out of poverty. I mean, the highest marginal tax rate in
America is not the marginal tax rate for people in my tax bracket or yours. The highest marginal tax rate is for the
poor. If you’re on Medicaid, housing vouchers,
food stamps, and so forth and you start earning money. You’re gonna lose all sorts of benefits. And the effective marginal tax rate if you
will, benefit tax rate, is huge! And so we lock people from in, in, into,
into staying, on, on, on government assistance because it
would be crazy for them to get off. We make it almost impossible to get
married. If, if he, for a, a poor person. If a young person is pregnant and, and she
decides to marry the father of the child, she’s far less likely to qualify for
Medicaid, for housing vouchers, for food stamps, and other forms of
assistance. The, the only likely way that she’ll be
able to really get the support she needs is if the father provides some of his
support that he has, doesn’t get married and she gets Medicaid
and so forth, these other programs. And as a result, not surprisingly, huge
numbers of people follow that path. There, there was a study done by Brookings
Institution some years ago, and, and I’ve got the numbers here
directionally right. I’ll have to go back and look at the
numbers, but they’re close to these. They said, what, what happens in America
if someone graduates from high school, marries before they have their first child
and has ever held a job, and the answer is 3% of those people will fall
in poverty. What happens if someone doesn’t do any of
those three things? 70% of them will be in poverty. It’s like aha, so if you want to make sure we eliminate
generational poverty in America, one you want to make sure there are huge
incentives to get people their first job. We don’t do that. Two, you wanna make sure that schools are
safe and teachers are effective so we can get people through high school. We don’t do that. And three, you wanna make sure that your
government programs encourage people to get married as opposed to create
disincentives for marriage, which ours do. We’re doing exactly the wrong things if we
wanna get people out of poverty. And yet there doesn’t seem to be any real
effort in Washington to change that. So Republicans are saying, by the way,
when I was Governor, I said look I want to spend more money on
childcare and have a greater work requirement to get people out of the home
and into, into the workplace. I am happy to spend more money on
assistance but I want it to help get people out of
poverty, not lock them into poverty. So support and, and government assistance
to end and alleviate poverty, Republicans are all in
favor of, but they want to find things that actually solve the problem as opposed
to cause people to live in poverty in a, in a human tragedy that goes on and on and
on, generation to generation. Thanks for the question.>>Unfortunately I, I’m gonna have to take
the last question here.>>Boy, I am wordy aren’t I?
>>We’re cutting you off, yeah.>>[LAUGH]
>>Be worried. No we we asked a, a question of all of you from the top
speakers, and its one that we have to answer when we
apply to the school. And there are obviously a lot of ways you
can answer this so I’m interested, but the question is what matters most to you
and why?>>It’s not one thing. And.
So I’m going to give you a longer answer. One, another long answer. One, I believe in God. I know some people don’t. Many people who don’t, nonetheless,
believe in something greater than themselves. I, I believe that, that if you believe in
something greater than yourself, that, that your life will be more full and and
productive. So I, I believe in God. And by the way, in believing in God, I
believe therefore we are all his children. And I believe that God loves all of us and I believe he loves us as you would love
your children. Some are doing naughty things. Some are doing nice things. But you love them all. And and, and I believe that I will be
measured, and you will be measured, based upon what you have done for your
fellow, children of God. And and that means your spouse, your
children, and your community more broadly. So that’s a big part of what’s important
to me, which are the people around me that I care
for. The person I care for moot, most in life
is my wife. We met at a high school. I love her passionately. She is the most important person in my
life. If I could do anything, any day, it would
be to be with her. That’s what I enjoy most in life. Close thereafter is to be with my kids. My, my boys and their wives, and now 23
grandkids. The, the greatest joy I have in life is
being with them. Sitting around in the back yard, or at a
beach just being with my grandkids and family, is the greatest source of
happiness and the most important thing to me. Coming beyond that, is a circle which
includes my church, my congregation, the people I know at church, and my sense
of service to them. Service in the broadest sense. Giving back in the sense of caring for
people around me is, is follows from that belief in something
bigger than myself. I, I happen to believe that the currency
in life is the people that you love and that care for you. The friends you have. Most of which you’ve learned here, you’ll
forget. The people you met here, you’ll remember
for the rest of your life and and will form a big part of your, of your
wealth. That’s your balance sheet when life is
over, who loves you and you love, and who are your friends and, and and how
close are they to you. So what’s the most important thing to me? My God, my, my wife, my kids and, and my
fellow human beings. And, and I participate and engage with,
with, with people large through campaigns, through speeches, through serving at
charities in all sorts of ways. And, and the rewards, the rewards that
come back are, are rewards in people. And in friendship and love, and that’s
what makes the most impact in my life. Thanks, you guys.
Congratulations to you and best of luck. Good to be with you
>>Thank you very much.>>Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Nicely done. Very nicely done.>>[MUSIC]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *