Is Your Business Designed to Deliver Value?

I strive to share my passion about the stewardship business leaders should feel to those who join their organization hoping to have meaningful careers with a company that cares about them. Our stewardship, however, extends beyond the people who walk through our doors each day. Our stewardship extends to all of our stakeholders. Embracing each group perceptively to create value for everyone brings about another awesome responsibility.

As leaders in business, we carry the awesome responsibility of embracing the design of our businesses.

One of the most meaningful ways that we touch the lives of our team members is by creating a thriving business that will be sustained over the long term… offering them the security to make the daily life decisions of providing  for their families.  The quality of our decisions as leaders ultimately has a huge impact on the lives of those who come under our leadership. A growing, healthy business creates opportunities for them to develop and utilize their gifts and talents. Confidence in their future enables them to live their lives more fully.

Do you have a vision for the design of your business that is worthy of the trust of those in your care?

After the tumultuous years Barry-Wehmiller experienced in the mid-80s, we emerged determined to create a new vision for the design of the business.  We envisioned a resilient business, one that would not be vulnerable to the forces that caused our distress. An integral part of our new design was the adoption of the Economic Value Added™ (EVA) methodology created by Stern Stewart & Co. for valuing company stock. Barry-Wehmiller is a privately held company with more than 400 shareholders, comprised of Chapman Family members, employees and outside investors.

The EVA method of calculation answers this question for shareholders: If I make an investment, will it generate value in alignment with normal equity risk? Treating those who provide the ongoing source of equity as respected partners safeguards the foundation of our economic existence, which is critically important to our higher purpose of creating sustainable value for all stakeholders.

EVA methodology is a powerful tool to articulate value creating business strategies.  It allows all stakeholders to envision a future of value creation and leaders to make thoughtful decisions as their business evolves. Because EVA methodology clearly calculates the value of our stock based on known factors, leaders in the business can accurately predict the impact of various strategies on value creation. We focus on the business drivers that create long-term value, and every team member can understand why those drivers are important to our future success.  Each team member can play a meaningful role in creating that future. EVA is an integral part of a business model that creates alignment, allowing all of our stakeholders to see a common path to a sustainable future.

In Conscious Capitalism, authors Raj Sisodia and John Mackey expressed a similar a view of stakeholder interdependence:

You cannot have a conscious business without conscious leadership.  Conscious leaders are motivated primarily by service to the firm’s higher purpose and creating value for all stakeholders.  They reject a zero-sum, trade-off-oriented view of business and look for creative, synergistic Win6 approaches that deliver multiple kinds of value simultaneously…leaders of conscious businesses have a finely developed systems intelligence that understands the relationships between all of the interdependent stakeholders.

Thanks in part to the EVA method, since 1988 we have grown equity value by over 15% compounded per year through a combination of more than 60 acquisitions and organic growth. In other words, we have achieved what we set out to do when we committed to a re-design of our business model: created a healthy combination of value for all stakeholders and an extremely bright future for our 7,000 team members.

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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4 Comments on "Is Your Business Designed to Deliver Value?"


Guest
3 years 30 days ago

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Guest
R Spencer
4 years 3 months ago

John,
In my view, this comes down to trust. None of us has the clairvoyance see forward to the consequences of every leadership mistake, nor would we want to. In life, we are a product of our experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly. Just as you must be willing to let your kids fall of a bike for them to be able to experience the freedom of being able to ride one, so must some leadership mistakes be made to grow stronger leaders.

In the end, whether you trust that someone is true in their purpose is a choice to be made. Whether they are worthy of that trust is more about their actions than what they say, and best judged over the long term.

Guest
R Spencer
4 years 3 months ago

I can’t express how much it means to work for a business that is built to look toward long-term success. I see others struggling in companies that live and die by the quarter. Driven by the EVA methodology, we are always looking toward a three-year time horizon. Because of our leadership, we are challenged to have a vision beyond that… to always challenge ourselves to consider what is possible. In my view, it not only drives business decisions, but it also drives the way we see relationships inside and outside the business. I look around after 22 years, and I am surrounded by many amazingly talented people that have joined us through our growth, but I am also surrounded by most of the leaders who were here when I first started at Barry-Wehmiller. I look around and see many new markets and customers being served, but we are also still doing business with the customers from 22 years ago. EVA is part of a long term view that causes us to value every relationship, and to work hard to preserve those relationships.

Guest
John Trester
4 years 3 months ago

Good Morning Bob-

I understand what you say when “A growing, healthy business creates opportunities for them to develop and utilize their gifts and talents. Confidence in their future enables them to live their lives more fully.”; because when someone is worried about the future, they cannot concentrate on the present, and this fails to add value to anyone: the business, the leaders, or the employees. Looking out for oneself is primary human nature. A person’s inherent altruism is dependent on many different factors in life, hopes, fears, and expectations…

Is it possible, in the short term, to see obvious signs in leadership that will, in the long run, be counter-productive to oneself and one’s own path? In other words, how can one tell the difference between good, rich, fertilizer and simple BS? Not coming from you, per se, but from leadership in general, anywhere.

Thank You,
John Trester
Green Bay