January 13, 2015

(day 17)

Today, I traveled to Cleveland to hear Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry Wehmiller  – a leader who in my opinion we should all try to emulate.  When you visit Barry Wehmiller’s website, which I encourage you to do, you will see their tag line – “Building a Better World Through Business”.  Bobcaring- sees business as the key to transforming our world through the development of people.  He states that, “When an organization provides meaningful work in an environment of care and compassion, team members leave work feeling satisfied and fulfilled.   And as a result those team members are more likely to be caring with their families, friends and community. ”  He passionately believes that the role of business to make this world a better place!

What does it mean “to care”… he says that it’s about honoring the lives of those who have been entrusted to you.   It’s about being responsible for helping people who work with you to find their unique skills and capabilities and to appreciate their contributions.  Just imagine working for an organization where you are in partnership for your personal growth and development, while producing business results.   Bob stated it so beautifully, “allowing ordinary people to do extraordinary things and produce results!”

Some may say, “yeah, but what about those results!”.  Barry Wehmiller is a global manufacturing company comprised of 60 companies with over 8000 team members and has enjoyed over 18% compound revenue growth since 1987!!!!

So when Bob says “he cares”, this is some of what he means:

  • In 2008 during the deepest economic recession since the depression, rather than laying off people to overcome the downturn in business, he asked all team members to accept a four-week furlough.  In doing so, people didn’t worry about losing their jobs and their own well-being instead they cared for each other.  In fact some individuals volunteered to take more time off, to allow other individuals who were less fortunate and more economically fragile to survive.  Through the safety net that Bob provided, they took care of business and each other!
  • Barry Wehmiller routinely celebrates adherence to their leadership principles with a monthly award.   Selection of the award recipient is by the team members for recognition of an individual’s contribution to being a “caring member”. While the award (a week’s ownership of a luxury automobile) is fun, what is most important to the award winner are the written comments by his/her fellow team members.  And how does Bob know  that… he asks!!!!
  • Bob routinely visits all company locations with the purpose of “listening”.  Listening to how team members are feeling; if they’re getting the tools and resources they need to be successful; and simply how they’re doing – both personally and professionally.   I can tell you from my own experience that when Bob is talking with you, he is 100% present.  You feel heard, respected and appreciated.
  • Barry Wehmiller created their own university to teach their leadership principles and how to develop the capacity for “empathetic listening”.  Team members routinely attest to the profound impact that this communications course has had on their lives for which they are so grateful!

I could go on and on… instead I’ll direct you to the Barry Wehmiller website – www.barrywehmiller.com.

Over the next several posts, I intend to explore both the ideals of Caring and Listening.