Joel Peterson headlines 30th Annual Spencer Fox Eccles Convocation

How do you go from having an idea to running a profitable and enduring business? Joel Peterson spoke about how to accomplish this using the concepts from his new book Entrepreneurial Leadership at the 30th Annual Spencer Fox Eccles Convocation last Monday.

Hosted by the David Eccles School of Business, Peterson had the opportunity to address a select group of students in-person with members of the Eccles family, University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins and Eccles School Dean Taylor Randall as well as approximately 300 alumni, donors, students, staff and faculty who tuned in virtually.

A successful investor in seven unicorn companies, founding partner of Peterson Partners, and Adjunct Professor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Peterson delivered a powerful message about how it takes an entrepreneurial leader with a strong foundation to create not only a profitable business but an enduring one.

“When building a business, you are building on the pillars of trust, mission, team and execution,” Peterson emphasized. “You can build an umpteenth story building if you have a strong foundation.”

Peterson’s analogy explains that relying on the four essential basecamps on the path to entrepreneurial leadership allows your business to grow and flourish. Here’s what he had to say about the four key pillars:

  1. Trust – “Become a trustworthy leader. This means assessing your core values and making sure you’ve adjusted your personal operating system so it’s consistent with those,” explained Peterson. The second thing he suggested is building a high-trust culture. Peterson’s first book, 10 Laws of Trust, provides more information on building and maintaining a culture of trust.
  2. Mission – “Mission gives meaning. People want to be a respected member of a winning team doing something meaningful,” Peterson said. “Clarity around your mission is a really important thing to develop.”
  3. Team – “Business is a team sport,” Peterson mentioned. Leaders usually fall into one of five categories: entrepreneur, manager, administrator, presider, or politician. Great entrepreneurial leaders will have elements from all five, and if they don’t, they will bring people in to fill their gaps. He also advised taking your time in hiring the right people but to get rid of the wrong people quickly so you have the best team on the field at all times.
  4. Execution – If you want to execute and make things work, whether that is raising capital, communicating or overcoming failures, it has to be simple. A checklist on executing from idea to product or service to profitable business to enduring company can be found in Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Missed the live stream event? Click here to view the recording.

To learn more about Joel Peterson and purchase his books, visit

About the Spencer Fox Eccles Convocation

Each year, the David Eccles School of Business holds the Spencer Fox Eccles Convocation at the start of the academic year. It salutes Mr. Eccles (BS ’56 Banking & Finance) for decades of unparalleled commitment to his alma mater and his vital role in working with his aunt, Emma Eccles Jones, to establish a $15 million endowment for the David Eccles School of Business. Read more about the history of the Spencer Fox Eccles Convocation in this year’s program here.

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