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Aug 15 2014

Are Our Workplaces Worthy of Our Children?

“I can say from what I have seen through my parents and friends that this culture is very unique and almost unbelievable compared to some companies.”

This is what one young college student had to say about his summer internship at Barry-Wehmiller’s PCMC division in Green Bay, WI.

Like the eleven other interns who spent the summer inside PCMC,  he experienced what his work might be like if he pursued a career in business.  After investing in an education, they all hope to enjoy their lives in the workplace after college. Like the people we as leaders have the privilege to lead, these young people are someone’s precious children and deserve to work in environments where they can share their gifts and be appreciated for their contributions.

I met with the interns and  was encouraged by what they had to say, as it affirmed our vision of sending team members home fulfilled. But during the discussion and reading their feedback on our recent video, The Leadership Crisis, they had no expectation of finding these values in today’s workplace.

 “I graduated with a minor in advertising, which led me into a few business courses in college. The majority of information taught was identical (to your experience in college), meaning the success of your business is measured by profits and shareholder value.”  

“Your vision that you shared described a company that I would like to someday work for: a company that truly cared about me. However, because your vision described something that was so uncharacteristic of the typical business model, I was skeptical. There is no denying that.”  

Through their experience at PCMC, they experienced first-hand the power of Truly Human Leadership. One, a mechanical engineering student, worked on a project that was more hands-on and challenging than she expected as an intern.

“Never did I feel like I was too intimidated to take on more responsibility. Any time I needed help with anything, no matter their role, someone was always willing to help. I never felt like I was looked down upon for asking questions or for not knowing the answer. I was also able and encouraged to take the communication skills class. Not only was it an incredible opportunity, but I was treated like I had been at the company for a lot longer than I had.”

One intern, the daughter of a longtime team member, had a deeper realization:

“It is perplexing to think (how) this company plays a role in my own life.  Even though I have only worked here for three months, my dad has worked for this company for almost sixteen years. That means there are sixteen years of influence this company has had on his emotions and demeanor that have impacted our family home life.”

This generation is looking for Truly Human Leadership. As stewards of those precious lives, it is our responsibility to provide it. Imagine the effect on the world if they began their careers in caring environments focused on bringing forth their gifts and talents instead of creating shareholder value!

After all, isn’t that the kind of environment in which you’d want your own son or daughter to work?

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Truly Human Leadership is found throughout Barry-Wehmiller Companies, where Bob Chapman is Chairman and CEO. A $1.7 billion global capital equipment and engineering consulting company, Barry-Wehmiller prefers to measure its success by the way they touch the lives of people.

2 comments

  1. Woody Chunn

    This perspective, i.e. taken from a parent’s point of view, is one that everyone should adopt. It would make everyone in leadership more aware of how they treat their associates in the work place. Having 2 children now in the workplace in professional positions telling me about the frustrations and ethical dilemmas that they face daily makes me well aware that we who work at BW are blessed with excellent leadership.

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  2. David Bragg

    In regards to this article, “are our workplaces places worthy of our children”, YES!! Having been with this Firm for some years now, it is evident that the Culture of this Firm is what every successful Company should want to be. Empower your people, embrace your people, encourage your people…in the work place and the habits of the work place culture will lead and direct it’s same people to be empowered, embraced and encouraged husbands, wives, children within their homes and great effective community leaders. We are indeed a generation looking for ‘Truly Human Leadership’ and it can found within the halls of this Firm. Within the spirit of it’s people!!

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