The Ultimate Classroom!

This past May, Barry-Wehmiller hosted a unique gathering of leaders and future leaders. It all began when I had the opportunity to speak about Truly Human Leadership to a class of business school students at a prestigious university earlier in the year.

During a discussion with the 70 undergraduates, I offered them a challenge: write an essay demonstrating their knowledge of the principles of Truly Human Leadership and other learnings from the course. It would be a contest! The prize: an opportunity to witness Truly Human Leadership in action at BW Papersystems in Phillips, WI, where our team members manufacture capital equipment for the paper industry.

My hope was that through a day spent touring our operation, interacting with BW’s team members, participating in insightful dialogue, and experiencing BW’s trademark caring and hospitality, these would-be leaders of tomorrow would come away with a deeper appreciation for the incredible power of what’s possible when people and performance operate in harmony.

Eight students were chosen for the quality of their submissions of a job description for a Truly Human Leader. Their submissions showed great insight and creativity about what it means to be a truly human leader, the desired skills and responsibilities. Some highlights:

  • “Define greatness as serving those you lead.”
  • “We want full people. Full humans. Full leaders who will bring their full selves to everything. Every conversation. Every success. Every milestone. Every disappointment”
  • “In essence, a Truly Human Leader keeps the body and team alive…As a Truly Human Leader, you will be the heartbeat of the organization.”
  • “You understand others: You empower. You feel. You bridge. You communicate. You connect then lead. You inspire. You forgive. You grow.”

To make the time at BW Papersystems even more enriching, we were able to schedule it in conjunction with an event for Conscious Capitalism CEOs who were also gathering to benchmark the impact of Barry-Wehmiller’s cultural initiatives (a “Sight Visit.”)

In the end, this unique blend of seasoned and would-be leaders created a robust dialogue about leadership and provided a forum for all to harvest their respective learnings.

Our team was able to capture this video to share some of the insights from the visit.

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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