Bob Chapman is not your typical leader. Take, for example, the mission of Barry-Wehmiller, the $1.5 billion company where Bob is Chairman and CEO:
We build great people who do extraordinary things.
You might be confused if someone told you that Barry-Wehmiller builds capital equipment and delivers consulting services, because what Bob will tell you is “building great people is our business.”
Many companies espouse the importance of building and developing talent by investing in people, but few companies go as far as Barry-Wehmiller to declare that building people IS there business.
In fact the Barry-Wehmiller website talks much more about building people than it does the products and services that these great people build and deliver.
Bob Chapman describes his approach as People-Centric leadership. It starts with the fundamental principle that leaders have a profound responsibility over the lives they have been entrusted to lead. And it is the responsibility of the leader to treat people with respect and dignity, and to create an environment where people can achieve their full potential. Barry-Wehmiller has identified the Guiding Principles of Leadership that shine a light on the behaviors that align with People-Centric Leadership. Not surprisingly, these principles are built on establishing trust.
It is a goal of Barry-Wehmiller that every employee go home each night with a sense of fulfillment. Because if employees go home fulfilled and happy, they are going to communicate with their spouse more deeply and be better mothers and fathers to their children.
Bob has demonstrated, through years of success, that by focusing on the people first, and dedicating himself to helping them achieve a sense of fulfillment at work, the business will thrive. By unleashing people to pursue their passion and follow their ideas you get their best work and commitment to excellence.
This TEDx talk by Bob Chapman at Scott Airforce Base is a great introduction to People-Centric Leadership and the incredible culture at Barry-Wehmiller.