Who: Dick Wilson
Company: International Paper
Has Held Title For: 4 years
Previous Title: President of Warren Trask Co.
What do Dick Wilson and Robin Hood have in common? Both men work in what you might call forest-based operations. And both have plenty of cohorts with nifty monikers. Robin Hood has Little John, Will Scarlet, and Friar Tuck. Meanwhile, the Prince of Pine, who's in charge of sales for one of International Paper's manufacturing divisions, has colleagues with titles such as the Baron of Boards, the Monarch of Mulch, and the Marquis of Machinery.
How wood you describe your job?
I oversee all of the operations that turn trees into the lumber that you can buy at lumberyards.
Why should salespeople try to be less wooden?
It's critical, really. You can accomplish much more with humor than with just about any other tool that you have. Humor relaxes people, puts them in a positive frame of mind, and unifies them — and that's the most productive way to work or to sell.
Can you see the forest for the trees?
The answer to that question is more complicated than you might think. We are really at the mercy of Mother Nature in our business, as far as the kinds of trees that she made in a particular forest. You know, wood and people are very similar: No two pieces of lumber are exactly alike.
A version of this article appeared in the June 2000 issue of Fast Company magazine.