We hear it and see it a lot, don’t we?
“We really care about our people.”
“Our people are what matter most.”
“We believe in building our people.”
However, if you were to ask most of those employees if that’s how they felt you’d most likely receive a “no” and a strong one at that.
Please don’t get me wrong. Indeed, there are a number of good companies out there. Their leaders truly do care, their people do matter, and they build their people. These companies also tend to also be very highly profitable. And, they are to be congratulated for both sides of that equation…the immense value they provide to all their stakeholders (including customers, service-providers and shareholders) as well as their profitability. Both matter.
However, here we have a “Go-Giver Company” on steroids! 🙂
As you might know, I love reading books on leadership. I learn from all of them.
This one not only touched me on a very, very deep level; it caused me to feel that business — even big business — could actually be this way.*
The person you are going to meet in this discussion, Bob Chapman, has the key to unlock this door in a huge, huge way. He and his company, Barry-Wehmiller have been doing it for nearly 20 years. And, they just keep continuing to prove its validity. This company is ALL about their people…and their financial success happens to be immensely healthy, too!
A Leader’s Leader
Chairman & CEO, Mr. Chapman believes that, “We have a crisis of leadership.” He says, “we have over 130 million people in our workforce who go home every day feeling they work for a company that doesn’t care about them. That is 7 out of 8 people in the workplace.”
To hear Mr. Chapman, talk about it, you can sense his anguish at this problem and his passion about spearheading the solution. And, spearhead it he has. The Guiding Principles of Leadership his company has implemented has resulted in a workplace consisting of people who feel good about themselves, about their jobs, and about the contributions they are making to its success. And they take that good feeling back to their families and communities.
He imagines a world full of caring work environments in which people can realize their gifts, apply and develop their talents, and feel a genuine sense of fulfillment for their contributions. The heart he has for people, making the world a better place to work and, as a result, live, is inspiring beyond measure.
And, it might be the type of business you’d least expect it to be. A manufacturing company; a privately held manufacturer of technology consulting and packaging machinery with more than 8000 employees worldwide.
In his foreword, Simon Sinek writes, “A lot of leaders talk about this. See what happens when you actually do it.”
Some of the topics in this fascinating discussion with Mr. Chapman include…
- Defining the leadership crisis
- A most unlikely place for an epiphany
- What happens at Barry-Wehmiller University…doesn’t stay there. 🙂
- The premise of Barry-Wehmiller’s Guiding Principles of Leadership
- What happens when a leader DOES take a hit, along with his team members?
Enjoy the conversation!
Can you see why I’m a raving fan of Bob Chapman and the company he leads?
Barry-Wehmiller’s tagline is, “Building a better world through business.” That’s their tag line. And, that’s exactly what they’re doing. In other words, “Everybody Matters” isn’t just a cliche on a mission statement; it’s the bedrock of the company’s success!
*Take a look at this quick video with bestselling author, Simon Sinek and Harvard Business School Professor, Amy Cuddy. It says it all.
Quotes from Everybody MATTERS
Below are just a relatively few of the many quotes within the book I felt the need to include here. Please know they merely scratch the surface:
“We first have to radically change the way we think about business, about people and about leadership. If we do so, we can build thriving organizations that bring joy and fulfillment to all who serve them and depend on them.”
“I had grown to understand that my responsibility as a CEO transcends business performance and begins with a deep commitment to the lives of those in our care–the very people who time and talent make the business possible.
“The key pillars are establishing a shared long-term vision, fostering a people-centric culture, developing leaders form within, and sending people home fulfilled.”
“In the end, it is about truly caring for every precious human being whose life we touch. It is about including everybody, not just the fortunate few or exceptionally talented. It is about living with an abundance mindset: an abundance of patience, love, hope and opportunity.”
“Everyone wants to contribute. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. Some people are on a mission. Celebrate them. Others wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them. We don’t just need a new guide to leading in times of change or adversity. We need a complete rethink, a revolution.
“One great truth we’ve learned is this: The people are just fine it’s our leadership that’s lacking.”
“But deeper insights had come from a simple question we had started asking people: ‘How did it make you feel?'”
“We have 7000 people, and each and every one of them is somebody’s precious child.”
“Our responsibility as leaders, be it in the military or in business or in government or in education, is to create an environment where people can discover their gifts, develop their gifts, share their gifts, and be recognized and appreciated for doing so–which creates an opportunity for them to have a meaningful life, a life of purpose in which they feel valued and get a chance to be what they were brought onto this earth to be.”
“If leadership isn’t about fighting fires, what is it about? We believe it is about lighting fires.”
“If more than half of your communication with any individual is negative, it’s an oppressive relationship.”
“Business growth and people growth aren’t separate ideas; they are complementary pieces in creating value.”
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Bob, so happy you showcase Bob Chapman’s work here. I am excited to read this book! Leader’s who don’t apply these principles are simply short-circuiting their own legacy. Not to mention doing an injustice to the very people entrusted to them. For me, I hope to look back on any success I might enjoy and thankfully recognize it is because everybody along the way mattered.
Gary, knowing you as I do, you are the very embodiment of Bob Chapman’s message! You will absolutely love his book!
When I realize – a bit more each day – that we’re connected it is SO easy to see that we all matter. That realization along with your refreshing example shows us that yep, everybody matters in a major league way. I genuinely intend to treat every human being, all animals and any life force I connect with during my world travels as if all matters, because they are me and I am them. Loving it Bob, thanks so much for sharing.
Thank you, Ryan. I appreciate your kind comments…and that you treat animals so well! 🙂 🙂
Am a fan of yours and advocate for the message you bring in your books.
Bob Chapman’s avowed approach to business is exciting; making people matter – an amazing and meaningful paradigm shifting opportunity. What a difference it would make in so many lives and the quality of life in our cities and communities if a large percentage of people believed they truly matter to their employers. Not to mention, engagement and productivity would skyrocket off the chart.
My challenge with all this is that the reviews and ratings of BW – BW companies (by employees) on the employment sites suggest that too large a percentage of BW local management (BW comprises 10 companies each operating in multiple locations) is not following the principles espoused by the CEO and head office.
I do not doubt the information we are being presented on the Wisconson facilities. There seems however to be a disconnect between Wisconson and other companies under the BW umbrella. How is BW senior management not aware of this or not so on the job fixing this that their people can see there is action behind the slogans ?
Not trying to be negative. I would love to work for any company that ascribes to Mr Chapman’s principles. I would love to work for any of Mr Chapman’s companies that follow his credo.
Paul, I certainly cannot speak for BW leadership and management in this regard. I can only tell you that in public forums where people can basically publish their side of the story…people often publish their side of the story. I don’t know what BW’s response would be to those you mentioned. Having gotten to know Bob Chapman just to the degree I have, I’d imagine he takes every one of those comments personally, works on getting to the truth of them, and then bringing the situation to a conclusion that honors everyone in the process. Thank you for participating in the discussion!