How do you define success? This is a question often asked of executives at Fortune 500 companies, but rarely do you get the same answer as the one given by Lisa Tegtmeyer, senior director of Distribution Operations for CDW Corporation. Tegtmeyer has been in her current role since 1999, and in just these last nine years she has led her team through some triumphant and turbulent times. She was instrumental in moving CDWs distribution operations from the original location in Buffalo Grove, IL to a larger one in nearby Vernon Hills. In 1999, she successfully guided CDW through a UPS Strike. And in 2005 she helped lead the implementation of a second distribution center in North Las Vegas and created various homegrown solutions to cut time and shipping costs.


Through it all, Tegtmeyer has grown alongside CDW as a partner, defining success on several levels: personally, professionally and with her team. Tegtmeyer attributes a lot of her success to the principles and culture set forth by founder Michael P. Krasny.


Krasny realized early on that personal computers would be to productivity and communications what airplanes are to transportation and business. But Krasny also understood that selling a variety of computer products would not be enough. He needed to build a unique corporate culture that would appeal to customers and coworkers alike.


CDW was not a vision created from a business plan, Krasny says. It has been an evolution of passion passion for technology.


This culture, which Krasny so passionately instilled in the CDW workers from the start, is part of what has molded Tegtmeyer into the successful leader she is today.


Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Tegtmeyer started at CDW as a college student, managing the switchboard. She spent the next four years working her way through college and up the ladder in Operations within CDW. Her career parallels the trajectory of the corporation; both grew side by side learning important lessons together.


A turning point in Tegtmeyers career at CDW occurred while she was a returns administrator. In her quest for perfection and the utmost in customer satisfaction, she worked closely with upper management in the distribution center to find issues and mistakes in processing that led to errors and issues with customers. Finally, the head of operations said, Im tired of you pointing out mistakes made by operations. Its time to put your money where your mouth is. Starting tomorrow you are the new receiving supervisor for CDW. You have 30 days to prove yourself and make a difference. I will announce it to the team tonight.


Tegtmeyer admits that the next day was her hardest ever at CDW. I had to lead a group that didnt really like me. I was also the first female in leadership in the DC and didnt know if I would fit in. So, I decided to focus on teamwork and making things better. I asked the team for a fresh start. And then, knowing that they were the experts, I asked them to teach me so that we could work together to make a difference. I never looked back from that first day, and it was my start as a leader. In fact, some of the people I hired in those first few days are still here and in leadership today.


CDWs culture has always been the glue that keeps the company together. Throughout the companys growth, the culture has remained intact, but it has also evolved to meet the organizations changing needs. Leaders like Tegtmeyer, who grew up with CDW, have helped the culture to thrive in a now multi-billion dollar corporation. Like other senior leaders, Tegtmeyer joined the Inclusion Task Force for the company. The purpose of the task force is to instill CDW culture and to value diversity as CDW grows.


Tegtmeyer continues to take each day as a learning experience and strives for success within her team, as a leader, and personally.


Success for the Team

Tegtmeyer believes a team can do anything, and she relays that thought every single day. She believes the best thing about the operations team is their diversity of thought. Their slogan, taken from Vince Lombardi is, The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual. The phrase is posted on each managers desk and throughout the DC.


Doug Eckrote, senior vice president of Operations sums it up best. Lisa has been successful because of her can-do attitude. There is no challenge that she will step away from, and she always delivers results that exceed expectations. This attitude and work ethic is shared by her entire team, and they willingly go the extra mile for her to deliver unmatched results.


Success as A Leader

The best measurement of a leaders success is not just what they accomplish, but how he or she accomplishes it. It includes their methods of motivation, the resulting morale of the group and feedback from team members. John A. Edwardson, CDW Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, recently described what makes Lisa a successful leader:


I think what sets Lisa apart as a leader is her intimate knowledge of our company. She lives and works within the CDW Way and she makes sure all her coworkers fulfill their Circle of Service commitments to every single customer of CDW. Tegtmeyer is a person that others want to follow, and she inspires and motivates those on her team to achieve. She shows that a style of care, compassion, mutual respect and trust can move mountains.


Success as An Individual

Tegtmeyer defines satisfaction as seeing your accomplishments with a sense of pride and your failures with a sense of learning. She believes the key to her success has been her incredible team. Her leadership is built on the strong belief that a positive attitude, teamwork and sheer determination can take you a long way.


When asked who has influenced her most, Tegtmeyer responded, Michael P. Krasny, because he made his dream a reality and gave us the opportunity to be a part of it. Without that opportunity, I would not be who I am today. On a personal level, my grandfather has always been a personal hero of mine. He taught me that I can accomplish anything through hard work and determination.


Even with all of the accomplishments to date, when asked about whats next, Tegtmeyer responded, I want to continue juggling motherhood and playing an active role in CDWs future. I think the best is yet to come.


If we all adopted the theory that success means never being satisfied, imagine what we could accomplish.