Not Your Average CEO

Believe it or not, in my spare time, I've been working on another book. I won't bother you with that now — there's plenty of time for that later. But I have to tell you about this one guy I've just finished profiling.

He's a bigwig, but here's the kicker: He doesn't act like a bigwig. In fact, he demands his other fellow corporate board bigwigs not act like bigwigs either. If they do, they're out.

If they have a tin ear, they're out on their ear.

Instead of sucking up, he advises his board to suck down: The little guys are his guys and the big guys better know it.

He's a huge believer in laughter — make a place fun, and it will be a fun place.

Happy workers, he says, are better workers. And, in his private company, they are loyal workers too: turnover is virtually un-heard of. Not because of how much they make at his company, but because of how much they get from his company and from him: a thank you for a job well done; an arm around a shoulder for a sudden loss.

He's a big bear of a man who wears his emotions on his large sleeves.

He cries. He pains. He smiles.

Some of his corporate friends say he's a sop, a softy; that good bosses are mean bosses, who keep their distance and their place. Not this guy. His suits are old and cheap, his car loud and ugly.

No CEO out of central casting is he and he doesn't care. But his employees care. They're putting up record numbers and record attendance. And all, I suspect, because he is smiling.

"You know, Neil," he tells me. "The problem with a lot of CEOs is they want to act like CEOs."

"They're emotionally constipated," he says.

"So what are you?," I ask.

"Regular," he answers and punctuates our conversation with a smile, a handshake and, because he knew me, one last parting gift... a Yodel.

Yeah, in the end, he had me laughing.

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