We co-hosted this remarkable Executive Roundtable with Bob Chapman, Chairman and CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, a $3 billion global capital equipment business with more than 12,000 team members.
He became the senior executive of this private company in 1975 at age 30 when the 80-year-old business had $20 million in revenue, outdated technology and a very weak financial position. Despite the obstacles, Chapman applied a unique blend of strategy and culture over the next 40 years in leading Barry-Wehmiller through more than 100 successful acquisitions. Over the past two decades, a series of realisations led him away from traditional management practices to what he now calls Truly Human Leadership – a people-centric approach where his employees feel valued, cared for, and an integral part of the company’s purpose. At Barry-Wehmiller, they have a unique measure of success: by the way they touch the lives of people.
Bob shared his views and experiences with us, and we had the opportunity to explore what we can learn from him in peer-to-peer confidential discussions with fellow executives.
The event took place on Wednesday, 07 June at 16:00-17:30 BST.
Partner, Richard Atherton, shared some reflections on the session.
I co-hosted a round table with Bob Chapman last night.
Bob is the author, with Raj Sisodia of the book Everybody Matters
and also the CEO and president of a large industrial company in the US.
And he has a very energizing and inspiring message
and it’s about caring.
Now that may sound very woolly, but this is a man who’s achieved astonishing business results.
His company has acquired or has adopted, as he likes to call it, multiple companies.
As a group of companies, they outperform Warren Buffett, his portfolio in terms of financial results.
So this is a message about business performance as much as anything else.
And he makes the point this isn’t, you know, just about caring, but when you combine a good business model
with caring leadership, then you’ll achieve outstanding results.
And he uses that word care as opposed to, say, loving, loving our colleagues at work,
because he has a very specific meaning when he talks about caring,
and he defines it as listening, listening with empathy, celebrating others, and being of service to others.
That’s caring, listening, celebrating, and being of service and he puts this at the heart of the leadership training
and development that they do at his company.
And we were reflecting on how this is not taught in schools.
I certainly don’t remember any caring classes in schools.
It’s not taught in universities. It’s certainly not taught in MBAs, but so important
when people feel cared for, they’re engaged.
They’re giving the best.
They feel safe.
They can take risks.
And what a massive boon it is for productivity when
people do feel cared for.
So I hope this message resonates and inspires a few people.
if you want to go a bit deeper into Bob’s philosophy,
I did a podcast with him last year.
I’ll put a link to that below, but yeah very inspired by
Bob’s message, thought I’d share.