03 May People in Harmony with Profits. – Bob Chapman
“The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”… A weekly blog.
Ever listen to a speaker and say to yourself: “This person gets it”? That is what I thought when hearing Bob Chapman recently at a breakfast gathering sponsored by Life Works of Charleston. He is the CEO of of Barry-Wehmiller, a $1.7 billion diversified manufacturing technology and consulting company.
Starting in 1997, they have pioneered a dramatically different approach to leadership in their company that has created off-the-charts morale, loyalty, creativity, and business performance.
Bob is a proponent of “Truly Human Leadership” or THL, which is the belief that leaders shouldn’t manage people; they should steward them. One of the guiding principles of this type of leadership is the mantra from the picture above: “We measure success by the way we touch the lives of people.” Wow, that certainly is a different yard stick by normal corporate standards.
“Money, power and position do not equal success”, shared Bob. “If we send people home from their job feeling valued, then they have a better chance of a good marriage and raising happy children”, he implored. A CEO that cares about an employee’s home life and not solely the bottom line or a stock price? Where was this radical thinking when I was grinding it out in Corporate America?
He just released a book with Raj Sisodia that brings together these principles. It is called “Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family.” It chronicles Chapman’s journey to find his true calling, going behind the scenes, as his team tackles real-world challenges with caring, empathy, and inspiration. It also provides clear steps to transform your own workplace, whether you lead 2 people or 200,000.
Here is how Bob and Raj summarize the book: “Everyone wants to do better. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. People achieve good things, big and small, every day. Celebrate them. Some people wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them.”
It is all about releasing human potential, as Bob puts it. Humans intrinsically, whether they are the maintenance man or a C-level executive, want to do the next right thing. Are we giving everybody in our workplace a chance to do just that? Are we recognizing them in a positive way when they do so? “Shine a light in your organization looking for the goodness”, he suggests.
If you want to explore further how to put these principles in place at your organization, then pick up a copy of “Everybody Matters…” at your local bookstore (in Charleston, ask for it at Blue Bicycle Books.) I got mine and am loving it so far, such a breath of fresh, entrepreneurial air.
When I asked Bob how he might encapsulate his approach to business, he answered: “Some folks believe it is people over profits. I believe it is people in harmony with profits.” Sounds like a win-win to me.
P.S. I also learned about another movement that Bob has his fingerprints on: Our Community Listens. Stay tuned for a future article.
The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem is a weekly 500-word blog article on LinkedIn by Thomas Heath, CLC that explores the world of business from an entrepreneur’s perspective. Its goal is to educate, enlighten and get conversations started. Join him with a Share or Comment, he loves to respond.