The Human Litmus Test

November 20, 2013
  • Bob Chapman
  • Bob Chapman
    CEO & Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller

Vision statements are critical in helping your team focus on organizational goals. But how do you know that what’s framed on the wall is also entrenched in the hearts of your team members?

At Barry-Wehmillerour vision statement calls all of us to measure our success by the way we touch the lives of others. Do we live that daily? And is it succeeding?

Jenny, the assistant controller at our FleetwoodGoldcoWyard (now BW Integrated Systems) subsidiary in Romeoville, Illinois, made me see how deeply rooted our vision is when she spoke last week about her years with the company.

Jenny joined the Barry-Wehmiller organization as a temporary employee ten years ago when she was 25 and just beginning her career. She always knew she wanted to be an accountant but, beyond that, wasn’t sure where she fit in.  “Growing up, I never found my niche,” she shared. “I wasn’t good at sports, didn’t join clubs. I was a good student but that was it. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself.”

Once she joined the Barry-Wehmiller organization that began to change. “My leaders identified strengths I didn’t know I had,” Jenny shared. “They offered me work and experiences that allowed me to grow in my role. They mentored me and helped bring out my gifts and talents. Through the years, my leader has often told me that I’m worth my weight in gold. That’s very empowering to me.”

Today, Jenny leads a team of six team members and is a professor for Barry-Wehmiller University’s Communication Skills Training.

“I have so much confidence in myself now. I finally understand who I was meant to be. To think that people I work with saw what I had been searching for my whole life is really amazing. I’m not sure I would have realized that anywhere else.”

Jenny’s marriage is richer as a result of her job. “I have been able to let down some of the barriers and open up to my husband Nick in ways that I couldn’t early on in our marriage.”

It has also enhanced her relationship with her mother. “My mom and I get along even better now because I have become the person I want to be, not the person I thought she wanted me to be. Both she and my father are very proud of my accomplishments.”

Jenny and Nick have one-year-old twins, Jackson and Addison. “I have learned how to be a better communicator, a better listener, and that will only help me as a parent,” she reflected. “I don’t come home from work stressed or angry; I truly feel a sense of fulfillment.

“I feel blessed to work for this company,” she said, as her eyes welled with tears. “I am offered so much here. It makes me want to offer as much as I can to my team. My Barry-Wehmiller family was with me along my journey to discover my best self. I was always happy on the outside but there was something missing inside. Now I am happy on the inside too.”

How do we know Truly Human Leadership is working? Just ask Jenny. Or Nick. And if you wait twenty years, chances are you could ask a very lucky set of twins from near Romeoville, Illinois.


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