Title: President and Chairman, Clear Direction Inc.

Why You Need to Know Him: Because Smith, a 58-year-old business adviser, has taught top executives how to be better managers at companies ranging from Baylor Health Care System and Sara Lee to American Airlines, Goldman Sachs, and the Philadelphia Flyers pro hockey team.

Smith does it via his Clear Direction Inc., a 15-year-old Dallas company whose methods and materials and proprietary software apply something called “formal axiology” to business and personal relationships.

An objective, deductive science that measures how people value their world and themselves, formal axiology was discovered by the late Robert S. Hartman, a German-born research professor. Many big U.S. corporations, and the 1970s-era Dallas Cowboys, have used it concepts in an effort to make more “humane” management decisions.

Today some 1,300 firms worldwide use Clear Direction’s hiring and professional-development software. And Smith’s coaching/advisory services—which help C-suite occupants “get clarity” about what motivates their employees, then implement smart strategies—historically have been sought especially by legal and commercial real estate firms.

Most top managers “underestimate what it takes to get things done,” Smith says. Having a good plan to follow is important, he adds; but executing that plan with energy and focus is more important by far.