In this month’s Executive Connection, Direct Selling News Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming speaks with Truman Hunt, CEO of Nu Skin Enterprises Inc., about leadership, sustainability and being a force for good.
DSN: What is the one thing you enjoy most about being the CEO of Nu Skin?
TH: I love being part of a global family of like-minded, positive people. And I get to see how Nu Skin has changed the lives of so many people in different ways. For some this change has been financial, for others it has been a change in their appearance or health, and for many Nu Skin has given them empowering and wonderful ways to help make the world a better place.
DSN: What has been your proudest accomplishment?
TH: My proudest accomplishments are actually at home, where I focus my attention on six children. But from a business perspective, it’s really rewarding to set challenging growth objectives and then see the organization rise to the challenge. Organizations that are aligned in purpose can produce remarkable results.
DSN: What do you tell Nu Skin distributors to lead and inspire them?
TH: One of the things that is striking about our sales leaders is that they are inherently highly talented and motivated. They are the ones who do the inspiring! However, I think continually reminding our distributors how important it is to be a force for good in the lives of all who come into contact with our business is something that inspires us in the corporate office and also inspires our sales leaders.
DSN: What is your vision for Nu Skin?
TH: Our vision is straightforward and unwavering: to become the world’s leading direct selling company by generating more income for our sales leaders than any other company.
DSN: If you could hit “replay” on any part of your own Nu Skin journey, either to enjoy the moment or to do something different, what would it be?
TH: That’s a tough question since we’ve had so many incredible moments at Nu Skin. I guess I would have to say I’d love to relive the moment when we first hit $1 billion in annual revenue. Why? Because when Blake, Steve and Sandie were first building the company, there were so many people who doubted their ability to make Nu Skin—and their vision—a success. It was really gratifying to prove to ourselves and to the world that Nu Skin was growing and thriving and making a real difference in millions of people’s lives.
DSN: What’s been the most fun part of the recent rapid growth at Nu Skin?
TH: The larger we become, the more people benefit. And that will always be what gives all of us the most satisfaction.
DSN: What advice would you give an executive at a young direct selling company to help them achieve strong, sustained growth?
TH: The measure of success is not whether you can reach $100 million in sales. The measure of success is whether you can sustain growth. Many startups rely on the notion of their company being a “ground floor” opportunity. But to me the measure of success is whether a company can sustain growth after it’s been around for many years. The formula for doing that is simple in some ways and complex in others. It goes beyond being a “ground floor opportunity.”
DSN: Is there one basic principle that governs your leadership at Nu Skin?
TH: My leadership, and the leadership of all of us at Nu Skin, is based on our philosophy that we want to be a force for good throughout the world. It was the vision of our founders, and it continues to drive every aspect of the business today. It’s how we try to operate, and it permeates our culture in every way.
DSN: What’s one piece of advice that you’ve found especially useful?
TH: One bit of advice that has stuck with me perhaps like no other was the definition of leadership offered by Jim Collins at our recent DSA annual meeting. He defined leadership as “the art of getting people to want to do the things that must be done.” I think the definition hits the nail on the head. And it’s why leadership of a business is probably the most challenging job in the world. It’s one thing to dictate to people what to do. But real leadership is the ability to get people to want to do critical things. That’s when the magic happens.
DSN: What do you like to do when you just want to relax?
TH: When I need relief from the daily pressures I usually do one of a few things: read a book, work on my really bad golf game, or play the ukulele. The uke works best because it requires total focus. It’s a good way to escape for a few minutes.