Everybody Matters Podcast: Frank Eichhorn of W+D

When I speak to audiences around the country, I often ask if anyone has been laid off. The responses are always the same: “It was the worst day of my life.” “When I had to go home and break the news to my family, the shame was almost unbearable.” “I didn’t know how I was going to make my mortgage payment.”

It is a demoralizing situation, especially if you have been laid off and called back numerous times – not wanting to fully leave and find a better job (because one isn’t there to be found) and not knowing if you would ever get to go back to work.

Unfortunately, this is often the experience of many workers throughout industrial manufacturing. If you’ve read my book, “Everybody Matters”, you’ll find numerous instances of businesses we’ve acquired that were broken. Even the people who remain with the company are weary from repeated layoffs and are broken as well. They feel hopeless and, having been burned so many times, they have almost lost the ability to trust.

A German company we recently acquired, Winkler and Dünnebier, or W+D, had similar struggles. For around 100 years, they’ve made machines that make envelopes, among other things. You can imagine that with the advent of the internet, that industry has been massively disrupted.

But even before Barry-Wehmiller came into the picture, W+D decided to do something they hadn’t done before to turn their business around: put their faith in their people.

A few weeks ago, W+D’s Managing Director, Frank Eichhorn, came to St. Louis to tell the story of how the company began, how it lost its way, and how it was able to right the ship. He also talked about how becoming part of the Barry-Wehmiller family has deepened W+D’s commitment to making work a more enriching experience for their people.

You can hear Frank tell this story on this week’s episode of the Everybody Matters Podcast.

How to get this week’s and past podcast episodes:

The Everybody Matters podcast is available for free on iTunes where you can easily download it straight to your computer or mobile device. We encourage you to subscribe to the Everybody Matters podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss an episode. If you are an Android user, you can also download the podcast for free through Podcast Addict. If you don’t have access through iTunes or your phone, you can download the podcast here or listen straight from the player below:

Truly Human Leadership is found throughout Barry-Wehmiller Companies, where Bob Chapman is Chairman and CEO. A $2+ billion global capital equipment and engineering consulting firm, Barry-Wehmiller’s 11,000 team members are united around a common belief: we can use the power of business to build a better world. Chapman explores that idea in his Wall Street Journal best-selling book, Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring For Your People Like Family, available from Penguin Random House.

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