After stints in finance at such companies as Tyco, Pennzoil and Jacuzzi Brands, Jeff Richard became chief financial officer at Pavestone, a small patio supply company that had never had a strategic plan before. Not only does the smaller company offer a clear path to the corner office, but Richard says the work is more rewarding. He says that at Tyco he spent most of his time "being Sarbanes-Oxley compliant, answering analysts' questions, and fighting with auditors -- things that didn't necessarily bring a lot of value to the company. What I really wanted to do was see the fruits of my labor."

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