Barry-Wehmiller – Another Great Participation Age Company
Participation Age companies make higher profits, are more stable, have more cross-trained people, exponentially higher Stakeholder satisfaction and retention, and great longevity. Are you looking to join one, or become one? Here’s another great example:
Most companies are still mired in the front-office business practices of the Industrial Age. But the Participation Age is a tidal wave breaking over the workplace. Those that embrace it will thrive. Those that don’t will be left behind.
Hallmarks of most Participation Age Companies:
1) Leaders, not managers. Stakeholders, not employees.
2) PARTICIPATION in building a great company. SHARING in the rewards.
3) Decisions made by those who will carry them out.
4) Results-based (not the traditional time-based workplace)
5) Profit-sharing (includes time-sharing – extra time off for good results)
Barry-Wehmiller – Embracing The Participation Age and Thriving
Company Name: Barry-Wehmiller
Industry: Diversified manufacturing technology and consulting
Revenue: $1.7 billion a year
Headquarters: St. Louis, MO
Growth: 20% compound growth every year since 1987
Ownership: Privately Held
Key Culture Belief
Leaders shouldn’t manage people; they should steward them. Who in your life do you “manage”? Your spouse? Your children? No, you care for them. You acknowledge the deep responsibility you have for them. They wanted to be sure Truly Human Leadership becomes permanently embedded in their culture. So they taught leaders to become good stewards of the lives entrusted to them.
Key Leadership Practice
THL – Truly Human Leadership
1997 – Bob Chapman, CEO, had “an epiphany” while visiting a company B-W had acquired. He was hanging out in the kitchen before work watching people have fun talking, but noticing the closer it got to the start of the workday, you could see the “joy went out of their bodies.” He asked himself, “Why should people have to leave work to have fun?” And that was the beginning of a new way of doing business at B-W.
Bob Chapman decided and the company’s Guiding Principles of Leadership cultural vision statement needed to be lived out, not in employee handbooks or on posters – “we’re going to put this in people’s heads and hearts, not just on the walls.”
Key Participation Age Practices
(an extension of their Key Beliefs (no managing):
1) No managers, just leaders who seek how to make others successful
2) No timecards, even in their manufacturing area
3) Free phones for line workers to call out any time
4) Take breaks when needed, not at prescribed times
5) A multitude of other things based on the principle of de-emphasizing hierarchy and elevating equal voices in building a great company
6) Results-based rewards: “Measurables allow individuals and teams to relate their contribution to the realization of the vision”
7) A deep commitment to their Stakeholders personal growth
1) Exponential revenue growth (20% compounded annually since 1987) and overall company expansion
2) 88% of employees of Industrial Age companies feel they work for an organization that doesn’t care for them. At Barry-Wehmiller, 79% surveyed by an outside organization said they believe BW cares about them – 180 degrees from “normal”.
One Fun Thing They Do
Guiding Principles of Leadership SSR Award Program. Team members nominate their peers as great examples of leadership in our culture, celebrating the everyday greatness in those that they work with day in and day out.
The entire organization gathers for elaborately planned celebrations designed to make the winner feel honored for his or her contributions to our culture. Winners are awarded the keys to a unique sports car, which they can drive for a week. Unlike a plaque for your desk, winners get the chance to drive their “trophy” for a week, inviting questions from family, friends and neighbors about why they have this unusual car.
Companies of every size, in every industry, are embracing the Participation Age to be more successful. If you are a Stakeholder and want to Make Meaning, not just money, leave your Industrial Age company and go find one (see other examples on this blog). If you’re looking to build one, read Why Employees Are Always a Bad Idea
Story confirmed with Barry-Wehmiller. Click here for more information on Barry-Wehmiller’s Participation Age culture