Don’t Confuse Your Why With Your What

What is your organization’s Why? Why do you do what you do? Are you succeeding? If not, then what?

As leaders in business, those are the tough questions we should be asking.

At Barry-Wehmiller our Why is clear to us: we’re in business so that our team members have a meaningful and fulfilling way to make their living. By providing a cultural environment through which they can realize their gifts, apply and develop their talents, and feel a genuine sense of fulfillment for their contributions, they go home better spouses, parents, children, friends, citizens of their communities.

It’s your job to lead your organization in finding the answers to tough questions. Click To TweetIn other words, Barry-Wehmiller is in business to improve lives. We do that through the building of capital equipment and offering of engineering consulting. But that’s our What, not our Why. Our What simply provides the vehicle through which we can enrich the lives of our team members, and the ripple effect of that extends far beyond the walls of our 65 locations around the globe.

As business leaders, it’s your job to lead your organization in finding the answers to those tough questions. If you’re a truly human leader—if you lead with a mindset of responsibility to the lives and families of those within your care –then you can be confident you’ll arrive at the right answers. How will you know when you’re succeeding? You’ll begin seeing evidence of it everywhere.

Like I did last weekend.

This past Friday we met with the top sales executives from across the Barry-Wehmiller organization. We had gathered them and their spouses for a special event celebrating their contributions to the organization’s financial success. Prior to the celebration dinner, however, we sat down with the group to hear their thoughts on how things were going. The nine salespeople talked about how they appreciate our motivation and incentive programs. They also appreciate our acknowledgment of their contributions. They spoke about our caring culture and the accountability they felt to the organization.

Then we asked the spouses how they felt. Keri, whose husband John joined our Northern Engraving/PCMC subsidiary nine years ago, shared this:

“John’s demeanor is completely different than it was with his previous company. You know how it is when you come home in a bad mood. You kick the dog and the dog bites the cat and so on. The ripple effect of an unhappy mood is tremendous. That’s how it used to be. Now, he comes home happy, more content. And because of that, we are happier.”

Our vision at Barry-Wehmiller of sending all of our team members home fulfilled is an ongoing journey. And, while we aren’t completely there yet, it is the people like Keri along the way who offer the evidence that Truly Human Leadership is working. We measure success by the way we touch the lives of people… people like John and Keri and their three sons.

Is your Why the right Why?

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

  • As a Barry Wehmiller employee, I can share that today’s post speaks so truthfully of how this company operates. I have only been with BWDG since may of 2012, but my life have changed dramatically since then. I left a company where you were emotionally and mentally beat down daily. The company had a desire to succeed, but was unable to create an environment in which the employees could succeed in their career. Thus, the company always, always struggled to succeed. Successful employees are key to a successful company. I came home daily, ill and tired, and I found it increasingly difficult to minister to my family as I should. Within a few days of working at BWDG, my attitude began to change and my energy improved. Within a month or two, there was nothing anyone could say or do that could ever convince my wife that I should ever leave BWDG (not that anyone was). She is very open with her friends and our family that there is not a price that you can put on happiness. We both know that Barry Wehmiller has created an environment in which I can succeed, and in which I feel I have a purpose. I come home a better father, husband, son, and pastor. Thank you.

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