Applied Materials

Applied Materials CEO's best advice: The buck stops here

September 16, 2009: 9:48 AM ET

Interview by Scott Cendrowski

Mike Splinter, CEO of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based Applied Materials, recalls the best advice he ever got.

Mike Splinter, CEO of Applied Materials

Mike Splinter, CEO of Applied Materials

Before I joined Applied Materials (AMAT), I worked at Intel (INTC) for two decades. I recall a session with Andy Grove. It was 1984, and Grove was talking about Intel culture to a group of new employees who were coming in at a senior level. I was running Fab 1, a Santa Clara factory that made chips.

In his talk Grove advised us to always assume it's your responsibility. By that he meant to take on a job, even if it wasn't yours. That's a general thought, but it creates specific action and works across almost any situation, from picking up garbage on the floor to a new product idea.

If you automatically assume it's your responsibility and do something about it, that makes the company better. Those who can recognize that are the ones who end up being more successful.

Mike's greatest tips

Engage your audience. When talking to a group, give the audience a challenge or an objective. It makes the presentation much more memorable.

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