Everybody Matters – my book notes

I loved this book. In fact, there are many things about Barry-Wehmiller that have impacted how I run Dragon Army and what my personal long-term plans are. I wish there were more companies like B-W.

These are the highlighted notes I took when reading Everybody Matters. I highly recommend this book, and these notes will give you a solid idea of what it’s all about. The notes are random and I put no thought to connecting them through any logical sequence – they’re just my notes ;) I also wrote a brief book review back in February 2018 if you’d like to check that out.

Companies routinely refer to people as their most important assets. In most cases, what that really means is that they focus on people so that people will produce for them. We believe that we need to succeed for our people.

A vision is like a lighthouse that stands on a rocky shore as a beacon to help guide us safely to where we want to go. An organization’s vision paints a clear picture of a compelling, desirable future for everyone in the organization.

Such companies operate with an innate sense of higher purpose, have a determination to create multiple kinds of value for all of their stakeholders, have leaders who care about their purpose and their people, and have cultures built upon trust and authenticity and genuine caring for human beings.

If you ask Bob (CEO) what his company does, he will tell you, “We build great people who do extraordinary things.”

The key pillars are establishing a shared long-term vision, fostering a people-centric culture, developing leaders from within, and sending people home fulfilled.

Culture equals values plus behavior, as my friend Lt. Gen. George Flynn, USMC (ret.) says. If an organization has a strong and clearly stated set of values and the people act in accordance with those values, then the culture will be strong.

We measure success by the way we touch the lives of people…A clear and compelling vision, embodied within a sustainable business model, which fosters personal growth.

…recognizing that we have a sustainable business model is essential to the long-run viability of our business and to the lives of our people. We can’t be good stewards of the team members in our organization if our business model is flawed.

The 10 Commandments of Truly Human Leadership
1. Begin every day with a focus on the lives you touch.
2. Know that leadership is the stewardship of the lives entrusted to you.
3. Embrace leadership practices that send people home each day safe, healthy, and fulfilled.
4. Align all actions to an inspirational vision of a better future.
5. Trust is the foundation of all relationships; act accordingly.
6. Look for the goodness in people and recognize and celebrate it daily.
7. Ask no more or less of anyone than you would of your own child.
8. Lead with a clear sense of grounded optimism.
9. Recognize and flex to the uniqueness of everyone.
10. Always measure success by the way you touch the lives of people!

But the stark fact is that the way we treat people at work affects the way they feel and how they treat the people in their life. We subject people to our leadership, good and bad, for forty hours a week, and when they go home, it affects the way they treat others.

Today the brokenness of the world is the news. We’re inundated twenty-four hours a day with bad news because “what bleeds leads.” Our culture at Barry-Wehmiller is so full of caring and recognition and celebration and holding up the goodness in people that the brokenness gets drowned out by the goodness. I know of no other company that focuses as much as we do on the goodness in people or that believes in it as much. There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of it; the more we shine a light into every corner of our organization, searching for goodness, the more we find it.

We can try to build a better world if we embrace what we’re trying to do in the manufacturing culture of Barry-Wehmiller; we can change the world for the better, one person at a time. We can wake up every day to a brighter future. We can do this by doing what we teach here at Barry-Wehmiller, which is “Live from your values and do what’s right.” That includes caring for each other. I never used to care about anyone other than my family, and now I care about everyone. If we all get up every day and do what’s right, how can anything be bad?

One great truth that we’ve learned is this: The people are just fine; it’s our leadership that’s lacking. When people perform poorly, most leaders are quick to blame them, perhaps even fire them right away. It takes introspection and humility to admit, “That might be a consequence of my poor leadership.”

We have found three master keys to our leadership culture – deep listening, authentic vulnerability, and courageous patience. We have found that the most powerful thing a leader can do is to truly and deeply listen.

Vulnerability is also key. It is not possible to create a truly open and caring culture if people consistently put on a mask and armor when they go to work.

Transparency ensures that people are aware of the current state of the business and also understand their role in ensuring its viability. As in sports, people need a scoreboard and a sense of where they are in the journey.

Design Group now does a rolling three-year business-visioning session every year. In each session, people step back and ask, “What is possible? What could we be, and how could we achieve it? What type of people do we need to hire? What would it mean to our professionals?”

“Tell me what is possible if your capacity for growth is only limited by your ability to attract exceptional people into a proven business model and a vibrant people-centric culture.”

We decided … to adapt Toyota’s well-known Lean methodology for team member empowerment and continuous process improvement – with one critical difference: Virtually all organizations that adopt Lean do so to cut costs and improve profits, but we wanted to use it as a way to spread our people-focused culture more broadly throughout our organization.

The sense of leaders wanting to support other leaders and just doing what’s right is simply amazing to me. There are no turf wars, there is no ‘stay away from my customers’ or ‘get out of my space.’ In fact, it is the opposite; everyone is always thinking, ‘How can I help my colleague do better?’ Bob is always focused on positive behavior, and not allowing negative energy to detract from the larger narrative. It’s infectious when a leader remains confident and positive all the time. It really doesn’t allow for time to dwell on negative.

People give us the gift of their time for forty hours a week, and the way we treat them, and inspire them (or not) profoundly affects their life…Business can change the world if it fully embraces the responsibility for the lives entrusted to it.