Leadership Lessons from Joe Capozza III
As a child, Joe Capozza III used to clean his father’s warehouse in exchange for movie rentals. Now, he’s vice president. He joined the family business, Capozza Tile & Floor Covering Center, in 2009 and earned his way to a leadership position. Joe Capozza III is at the helm of a rapidly growing company; last year, the business grew by 50 percent. Its success has not gone unrecognized. Last week, the Institute for Family-Owned Business announced Capozza as the winner of its Reny’s Large Business Award. In this installment of MH+D Inside Out, Joe Capozza III explains how he empowers his team to make decisions and offers insight into the future of the family business.
Q. Was it difficult for your parents and grandparents to delegate leadership responsibilities to you?
A. My grandfather started the company, and my parents built it up. You hear about some first-generation business leaders having trouble passing on the torch. That hasn’t been the case with my parents. They’ve been very supportive of what we want to do with the company.
Q. How would you describe your leadership style?
A. I have a very team-oriented approach. I encourage the other people in the company to come up with their own ideas and solutions. I try to empower the people who work for me and give them responsibilities. I make mistakes, and my employees make mistakes. I don’t chastise anybody. We work through what happened, and next time it won’t happen.
Q. What does the future look like for the company?
A. We want to continue to have sustainable profitable growth as a company. We don’t need to be the biggest. This is a cliché, but we want to be the best. We want to build relationships and create enjoyable experiences for our employees and customers.
Q. What’s the best advice your grandfather ever gave you?
A. When my grandfather started the company, he told my father, “Treat other people how you want to be treated.” My father has passed that on to me and my sisters. That’s the key to a collaborative effort as a company.
Q. What role does trust play in your business?
A. In a family business, trust is huge. The family used to make every decision, but people outside of the family also make big decisions. I don’t want to control everything. If I have a good team in place and coach properly, we all lift each other up.