Portrait of a Better World: Stefania Sforzi

Barry-Wehmiller’s “Portraits of a Better World” video series features team members from across the organization sharing how Truly Human Leadership is alive in their corner of our global organization. Whether describing their leadership at work, their contributions within their communities or the indirect impact of our culture on their families, these short vignettes give voice to the many ways we are using the power of our business to build a better world.

Since 1987, Barry-Wehmiller has grown from a $20 million dollar business to a $2 billion dollar global company through a healthy balance of organic growth and more than 70 acquisitions. We actually prefer to call them “adoptions” because we’re welcoming these companies into our family.

Take for instance our Paper Converting Machine Company, an 80-year-old equipment company headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin. When we invited PCMC into our organization inWe are all working for the same purpose. Click To Tweet 2005, the business was struggling, as many manufacturing companies were, due to foreign competition and market challenges. And like most struggling companies, their culture was broken too. But just as we’ve done with our other similar situations, we partnered with our new team members to turn both around.  I’ve written about PCMC and their transformation from a company with little hope for its 800 team members into thriving business and culture whose team members now share a vision of a good future (Bringing Lean to Life and From Robot to Leader.) These days, PCMC has emerged as a leader in tissue converting and flexographic printing presses. In addition to Green Bay, Wisconsin (USA), they have additional manufacturing operations in Duncansville, PA (USA), Devon, UK and Lucca, Italy.

Its Lucca, Italy operation happens to be in the heart of the global tissue industry and a critical part of the global technology evolution. Naturally, team members in at the Lucca plant were anxious about the ‘new’ owner and the concern that some of PCMC’s operations would be shut down and production moved to lower labor cost markets.

“They said ‘the Americans will change everything, we’re going home,’” said Stefania Sforzi, our Culture and People Development specialist at PCMC in Lucca. “Our team members were very afraid. But they were surprised.”

One of the reasons our new Italian teammates were hesitant was because they were conditioned to think that business is business and caring has no place at the office. They probably have a right to fear most American business owners.

“Our normal culture of work is going to work and doing what your boss says to do,” Stefania said. “In a normal company in Italy they ask you to do something and only that. No more. There aren’t leaders in companies in Italy, there is the boss. Our culture is so different now. It takes time to understand and feel that it’s really true instead of just words on the wall or the website.”

But the team members at PCMC Lucca eventually began to see the difference.  “We now know that we have no bosses, only colleagues,” Stefania said of the difference. “We are all working for the same purpose. We’re not just working for our salary at the end of the month. And we have no boss, so there isn’t the boss that wants to obtain the maximum profit from your job.

“It seems simple, but it is very revolutionary for us.”

 To see other Portraits of a Better World, click here.

Truly Human Leadership is found throughout Barry-Wehmiller Companies, where Bob Chapman is Chairman and CEO. A $3+ billion global capital equipment and engineering consulting firm, Barry-Wehmiller’s 12,000 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.

1 Comment

  • Stefania – my heart is singing when I hear your story. I’ve believed and seen people’s lives uplifted when others see and embrace their gifts. I’m looking forward to the day when around the world businesses understand and practice this “care” for each other, supporting each other as colleagues to fulfill their common purpose and vision. Everyone is a leader and everyone’s gifts matter. Love the people connection between Lucca, Italy and St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Best wishes to you and your colleagues.

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