Don Peebles on achieving personal goals

From Capitol Hill to the boardroom, Peebles talks shop

Don Peebles
Don Peebles

In an interview with the New York Times, developer Don Peebles recalls a tough but rewarding childhood, and explains why he asks employees if they are happy with their choices.

At age 16, “I went to the U.S. Capitol Page School from six to 10:30 in the morning… From 10:30 on, I worked in the House of Representatives. After working all day, I would go home and then have basketball practice until about 9 p.m. Then I would do my homework, go to bed around midnight and then get up at four the next morning to do it all over again,” Peebles told the Times.

Years of long hours, he says, taught him leadership. Today, “we have about $3.5 billion of projects in development,” he told the Times. “Our executive staff is about two dozen people and we have fewer than 100 over all.”

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And when it came to hiring that staff, Peebles said he has a very specific methodology.

“Our company should be a vehicle for our employees to accomplish some of their personal goals. It is a two-way street, but we should give people the opportunity to evolve and learn and grow and not put them in slots or force people to stay in their own lanes,” he said.

“I want to know the candidates’ personal goals and how they think our company can help them achieve those goals,” he added. “I’ll also talk to them for the first 20 minutes about their life — where they grew up, what their parents do and what their goals were when they were growing up. And I’ll ask them if they are happy with their choices.” [NYT]Christopher Cameron