Transforming Lives, Inside and Out

We’ve recently celebrated two important anniversaries at Barry-Wehmiller.

Our internal educational arm, Barry-Wehmiller University, turned 10 this year! Ten years of fostering personal growth, creating leaders and inspiring people within our organization.

When BWU was conceived in 2007, we had little idea what would ultimately come of it or the magnitude of its impact. We were in the early stages of our Truly Human Leadership journey and had been asking our team leaders how to blend the tools of lean with our vision of a people-centric culture as articulated in our Guiding Principles of Leadership150428_naunheim_barry_wehmiller_class_008. Over and over again, they responded that they needed leadership training. So, that was our challenge: “How do we create leadership education within this organization?”

Through the visioning session, we arrived at two main points. Our purpose was to develop an integrated, inspirational and sustainable way of living our vision. And we believed we could use the power of business to dramatically impact the world in a positive way.

We decided that we would develop our own material because we wanted it to be distinctively Barry-Wehmiller, evocative of our unique worldview and principles. We agreed that we wanted our professors to be Barry-Wehmiller team members. And we decided that the process of how we taught had to be inspirational and transformational from the beginning.

Unlike many corporate training experiences, the goal of BWU was not to “get more out of” our team members, but rather to teach them the fundamentals of leadership, so they might positively impact the lives of others in their roles as leaders. Not just the lives of people inside our organization, but anyone they might encounter in life, including – and maybe most importantly – their family.

In ten years of BWU, we’ve conducted a total of 653 courses with 8,751 total course graduates. We have held classes in 73 unique global locations in 13 countries in four languages taught by 261 professors. By any metric, those numbers would say our program is successful. But this is Barry-Wehmiller. The metric we use to determine the success of our classes is in the number of lives touched by our teachings.

Take, for example, Communication Skills – or now “Listen Like a Leader” – where we teach active listening. It’s the foundation for all our other classes and, based on the feedback we’ve received over the years, it might be our most impactful. We’ve had team member upon team member share stories of how this class has positively affected their relationships with their families. It has been so impactful that my wife and I formed a non-profit, Our Community Listens, to share the class with communities all over the U.S. Currently, almost 4,000 people have received listening training in more than 236 classes in 13 locations.

And in the spirit of using business to dramatically impact the world in a positive way, sharing what we’ve learned with other organizations who believe like we believe and are ready for positive change, we’re also celebrating the two-year anniversary of the BW Leadership Institute, which directly evolved from BWU to take our internal teachings to businesses throughout the world.

In St. Louis alone, BWLI has hosted 15 Think Like a Leader classes (formerly Beyond Benchmarking,) 10 Listen Like a Leader classes and 3 Inspire Like a Leader classes.  That’s more than 800 people who have traveled from all over the world in the past two years to learn from our practitioners. In addition, the Leadership Institute has supported over 63 Listen Like a Leader classes globally – impacting more than 1,110 lives.

BWLI also brings our unique leadership training inside other organizations. To date, they have taught 20 Inspire Like a Leader off-sites classes within other businesses and are projected to teach approximately 15 more before the fall.  With these classes averaging 40 participants, we are on our way to inspiring more than 1,600 lives through this class!

In just two years, the BW Leadership Institute has touched literally hundreds of organizations, but one of the things they’re most proud of is the diversity of client-organizations they have had the privilege to work with: from a wealth management firm in St. Louis, to an education service center in rural Texas, to one of the largest wine distributors in the U.S., to a NFL team, to one of the largest airlines. Their efforts are constantly affirming that our message is a truly HUMAN message that is universal and not bound to any particular industry or demographic.

Ten years ago, we could have never imagined that the ripple effect of our leadership journey would impact so many people. Out of our original idea of offering leadership training to our team members grew two organizations that now are also bringing leadership training to people around the globe. As we celebrate these special milestones we are proud of how Barry-Wehmiller is truly building a better world!

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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2 Comments on "Transforming Lives, Inside and Out"


Guest
Jane Adshead-Grant
1 month 9 days ago

The impact of your leadership programmes is profound. With the expertise of Matt and Sara guiding us effortlessly it seems through a journey of what it takes to be a truly human leader in our somewhat volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world of work is a game changer. Recognising the privilege we have as leaders and the impact we have in that position on the lives of others is powerful and fills me with energy and excitement to share this message in the hope of making this a better, more peaceful world. Thank you Bob and the team at BWLI.

Guest
Kit Tennis
1 month 21 days ago

The leadership message from BWU, BWLI, and OCL are changing the world. Thank you, Bob!