“We’ve paid people for their hands for years, but they would’ve gladly given us their heads and hearts for free if we’d only known how to ask.”
What if there was a better way to do business? A way to make it, well, more fun? Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia wrote this book to show the world that business can be done a better way. They started out as leaders who put profit before people, who always thought about costs, never about caring. Eventually they realized it is all about the people. They learned that great leadership, truly “human leadership,” brings our deepest sense of authentic caring and high ideals to business. And it is much different than the leadership they learned about in business school!
Their transformation began with the simple idea to make work more fun. From there they shaped a culture that’s being emulated nationally and even worldwide. Their culture is full of caring, recognition, celebration, and, as they say “holding up the goodness in people”. They discovered that the more they searched and shone a light on the goodness, the more they found.
They share the wisdom they gleaned successfully leading Barry-Wehmiller for forty years. They were able to pare down that wisdom to just two words: Everybody matters. They realized that when you treat people superbly and pay them fairly, you can not only compete globally but also enrich and elevate the lives of everyone the business touches.
How? Below are just three ideas they share. They don’t just want to help leaders in every field, they want to create a revolution. They want us all to use their discoveries to lead lives of meaning and fulfillment for ourselves and those we impact with our leadership.
The Big Idea
It’s All About the People!
"In the end, it is about truly caring for every precious human being whose life we touch."
To start, their vision statement calls for them to measure their success by the way they touch the lives of others. Their approach to transformation, rejuvenation and renewed growth has been proven to create tremendous shareholder value in dozens of companies in different industries and cultures globally. The key pillars of their approach include:
- Establish a shared long-term vision
- Foster a people-centric culture
- Develop leaders from within
- Send people home fulfilled
It is about living with an abundance mentality; abundance of patience, love, hope and opportunity.
They share seven universal principles that can guide any team:
- Every human being matters and is unique.
- Evolution has a purpose.
- The most powerful energy in the universe, and thus in human beings and in organizations, is caring.
- The more we can combine work and caring, the more fulfilled we will be and the further we will collectively advance.
- Individuals can choose to operate at a higher plane of consciousness or not.
- Organizations can be built for resilience and inspired to care.
- This is a journey with no end point.
Leaders learn to inspire people to solve problems rather than trying to manage them out of problems. Offering and developing deep trust is the essential foundation of great leadership. And this is built on respect and caring which replaces the typical fear and anxiety often felt at work.
Create the Culture
"Most businesses use people to build products and make money; we use our products to build people."
Do you consider the purpose of your business to maximize profits/shareholder value? The authors teach that this simplistic idea can damage the people and the business outcomes. It actually impairs the ability of the organization to sustainably generate value.
Great leaders of truly great businesses think differently. The purpose of every great business is something deeper and involves having a positive impact on the world and on the lives of people.
Bottom line, if you create and run a business with the primary intention of driving profits and maximizing shareholder value, you will not be as successful as if your primary intention is to serve others.
To ensure they have the right emphasis at Barry-Wehmiller, they do two kinds of visioning; business visioning and cultural visioning. Culture equals values plus behavior. Cultural visioning focuses on their “why” and the values and behaviors that support it. Among other things, they ask how they should treat each other so they go home fulfilled.
Where is your emphasis? I work with Pharma companies and encourage them to “serve patients by making medicines” rather than “make medicines to serve patients.”
"When we engage our heads, hearts and hands around these habits, extraordinary levels of trust and fulfillment will result."
Being a good leader means choosing to be a good steward of the lives entrusted to you. Not just your people, but the families they go home to at the end of the day, either surly and drained or happy and fulfilled.
We all know that pilots follow checklists religiously. Thank goodness. Just like pilots, leaders are entrusted with precious lives every day. Chapman and Sisodia decided leaders too need checklists! So they took their vision and made it tangible. What must a leader DO every day? Here is their list. How many can you check off today?
- I practice stewardship of the Guiding Principles of Leadership through my time, conversations and personal development.
- I advocate safety and wellness through my actions and words.
- I reflect to lead my team in achieving principled results on purpose.
- I aspire to passion, optimism and purpose.
- My personal communication cultivates fulfilling relationships.
- I foster a team community in which we are committed to each other and to the pursuit of a common goal.
- I exercise responsible freedom, empowering each of us to achieve our potential.
- I proactively engage in the personal growth of individuals on my team.
- I facilitate meaningful group interactions.
- I set, coach to, and measure goals that define winning.
- I recognize and celebrate the greatness in others.
- I commit to daily continuous improvement.
So how do you start? It starts with caring for the people you lead. How? Never look at the people you have the privilege of leading as a function (a sales rep, a receptionist). Rather, see them as a full human being: someone’s precious child, adored mother, beloved spouse. Think of them with infinite potential that you have the opportunity to profoundly impact. Listen to them deeply, inspire them to share their gifts fully and celebrate their journey.
You don’t have to wait for your organization to decide this is the path forward. You, in your decisions each day, can do the right thing. You can pause each day to really listen to a colleague. Show them what they do matters.
Everybody truly does matter. Such a simple yet powerful idea. You already have within you what you need to start living the universal truth that everybody matters. How will you show people today that you care?